This is the story of Norman McDonald who was diagnosed with prostate cancer and went on to receive radiation therapy treatment at Icon…
During my radiation therapy treatment at Icon Cancer Centre Gosford, I greatly appreciated the gift of treatment, the wonderful staff, and the companions with whom I shared the journey. Over the course of this experience I wrote three ‘essays’ for my family, encapsulating my journey. I would like to share these with others that might be going through a similar situation.
Day one of my treatment
I’ve just arrived home from day one of my radiation journey and I feel the need to share some of the day. The prompting to do this came to me as I drove to Gosford, with the realisation that I was making this journey physically alone.
Icon Cancer Centre is a most welcoming environment. The staff are all very focussed, friendly and professional. Immediately I felt it would be good experience sharing this journey with these people over the coming weeks. In the comfortable waiting area, I felt younger than most of the other people appeared to be. And I was the only one alone. But differently from the experience in most medical waiting rooms, conversation flowed freely among patients; not constantly, but caring and friendly, with a shared sense of journey. I mostly listened but will probably become part of the interaction as familiarity develops.
From a technical point of view, everything went well in the radiation process which will become familiar and regular over the coming days. There is much that I can do in preparation and I am committed to doing this to the best of my ability; a resolve which has been reinforced by my experience with the centre and its staff today.
Half way through my journey
Today I had my 19th session of targeted radiation therapy, the mid-point of my 37 sessions. It is going well; I am well. Side effects are minimal and it seems timely to tell something of the experience to date…
I do not need or propose to detail the preparation surrounding the mantra “empty rectum, full bladder”, which ensures the prostate is located at exactly the same place for every session. My timing of meals and drinking large volumes of water have resulted in (mostly) ‘spot-on’ results. Perceptively, the therapist remarked one day, “you are an organised person, aren’t you?” No argument there. It is one contribution I can make to seek a good outcome from the gift that has been granted to me.
The procedure is less than 15 minutes, including calibration time with the hum of the treatment machine blotting out other sounds. Some music is played and after a few days the therapist suggested I might prefer classical music to the usual selection. I agreed. I had to remain still, but I nearly erupted in laughter as piano chords rung in my ear – the familiar opening of the dramatic, not quiet and restful, Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, a favourite of mine. Very rousing!