top of page
  • Writer's pictureA. Murphy


Updated: Mar 11, 2020

My radiotherapy had begun. I was to go up to the radiotherapy centre at the hospital every single day for six weeks. It was surprisingly okay, apart from the first few sessions in which the machine broke down. The second session I had, the machine broke down, then again, and again. I said in my previous post that my face was puffy from fertility treatments making my mask tight and causing my head to hurt after a while. The combination of growing pain and a long wait made me perfectly miserable. The pain was intense, I was very, very close to giving in. I even told one of the techs when she came in. All she said was 'We're nearly there' and walked away again. There were tears in my eyes as I kept telling myself to hold on for just one more minute. It was hard but I managed to tough it out.

Eventually they replaced a motor within the machine and the problem was solved! No more waiting for over an hour. I still wouldn't choose to do it for fun but overall radiotherapy wasn't that bad. I even mildly enjoyed my time up there. I liked the techs, we got along really well and I liked to talk to them. I think that some patients were silent throughout their treatment making my friendliness a welcome change.

It was also an opportunity for me to listen to some funky tunes. I was allowed to play my spotify playlists whilst I was on the table. The one I played most often was my movies playlist which has a lot of Disney songs. The techs, who left the room whilst the radiation was firing, had cameras in the room so they could see and hear me all the time. They all seemed to enjoy my music too, after all who doesn't get excited when they hear 'Under the Sea' or 'Hakuna Matata'. They were a little shocked when a heavy metal cover of 'My Lullaby' from 'The Lion King 2' came on, but hey it's a good song.

I had been warned by my doctor, whom I saw every week, about the side effects of radiotherapy. It could get nasty: nausea, diarrhoea, rashes. I was just waiting for something to happen, to wake up one day and feel like crap. But I managed to get away without any side effects at all. No side effects...except one.

About three weeks into my radiotherapy I started to lose my hair. I had been told this would happen of course so it didn't freak me out. Losing my hair was something that many, including myself, thought would break me. Understandable as I have always been very fond of my hair. I never did anything with it as I was in swimming training a lot and any work that went into my hair would be undone as soon as I touched the water. So it had split ends and smelled of chlorine but I still really liked it. However, once again I coped very well with it.

No one tells you but losing you hair is incredibly annoying. I have two dogs and I was shedding more than them! Additionally, I had very long hair so it was unbelievably irritating to have it all over me. Brushing my hair (what was left of it) became an extremely careful affair, even then large clumps got pulled out.

Even though I didn't mind it, I know how hard it is for others. Many people learn about cancer through media, mainly tv shows and films. Media plays up the dramatics a lot and when a character loses their hair, they treat it like one of the most traumatic losses there is (especially if it's a woman). But you do not have to act the way media tells you that you should be. Even if it's all you know about cancer. When it came to losing my hair I was reassured with the knowledge that it would grow back. Slowly but surely, it does come back. This made it far easier for me when I decided to shave my head rather than waiting for it all to fall out naturally.

I had tied my hair up into a plait during the night, in an attempt to keep it slightly neater while I slept. The morning shed light on the unfortunate consequences however. Whilst my hair was tied up it continued to fall out but couldn't go anywhere. This resulted in my hair becoming a horrible matted knot that was insanely itchy. I could cope no longer. It could not be brushed out either as it would simply come away in a bug chunk. No. I was going to be bald anyway, might as well get it over with. Sitting in the bathroom my mum shaved my head with my dad's electric razor. The relief of being free from that hot, itchy tangle was indescribable and being bald doesn't look as bad as one might think.

There was one more side effect that I dealt with though, and I'm still dealing with it. I don't think it'll ever truly go away. Radiotherapy left me with a stripe all the way up my back. It was slightly darker than the rest of my skin, as if I'd tanned but only on my spine. It marked where the radiation had hit my body. If I had let it, it probably would have bothered me a fair amount, but no. Instead I decided to call it my racing stripe and decided that if the way I looked bothered people then they could f**k off.

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page