Thursday 22 May 2014

How radiotherapy made me un-cool

 Me. Smoking, throughout the years... Aww memories. Proof that I was cool once. 

As you all probably know from previous posts, I haven't suffered too badly with side effects -or because of existing illness I may have a high tolerance to such things (See here for a reminder of this: How being sick helped me cope with being sick). However, these are short-term side effects. Long-term side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy are a completely different story.

Chemotherapy works by destroying all rapid growing cells –including good cells. This of course, is bad news for your body, and hence why the short-term side effects include hair loss and nail/ skin issues. Long-term, you may have an increased risk of developing other cancers (although this can be hard to measure, after all, we rarely understand what triggers cancer and it’s a lotta guess work). 

Short-term, most people feel extremely fatigued with radiotherapy. Other short-term and long-term side effects depend on the type of radiotherapy, and in my case (with external radiotherapy) the area where I was zapped -The two sides of my neck and top of my chest. The development of breast cancer is a concern because I am
a young woman and because of the area that was zapped, however as it's just above the chest region, the team believe the breast tissue may not be affected *fingers crossed*.

The oncologist doctor and my haematologist had both warned me about smoking -both for short-term and long-term side effects from the radiation. As the top of my lungs are within the treatment field, they're guna get a little damaged, and in time this damage could be bad. So smoking is a bit of a no-no.

I'm now finished my radiotherapy, and have I managed to quit smoking yet? ...Well, nope. Although I did mostly cut down. AND I haven't smoked at all the last few days, so I've half quit. Here's the plan I've developed to quit completely...

For now I'm going to only smoke when I drink alcohol, as I know this will be the hardest time for me as a non-smoker. So roughly bout once a week (more like once a month the last while, but I hope to be socialising more now!). The rest of the time -No smoking. Then eventually I'll switch to the nicotine patch -again, only when I'm out drinking alcohol though.

It's a pretty simple plan. So far, so good. Been doing it about five, six days now I think... I've actually lost count, haha. Still craving of course... Writing about it is making me want one so, so badly. I can't even describe what I'd do for a wee rollie right now.

Mainly I'm not looking forward to being a non-smoking square sitting in the pub on my own, while all the hip cats are in the smoking area -smoking, swearing, gossiping... being bad-ass in general. 

I was once cool... Radiotherapy, I hate you. 

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