Five Thoughts on Five Sessions of Radiotherapy.

February 12, 2017 16 Comments
Flowchart of medication for brain tumour treatment

Five Thoughts on Five Sessions of Radiotherapy.

February 12, 2017 16 Comments

Following surgery, the results from the biopsy took a while to come back as the labs weren’t fully operational over Christmas and New Year.

At a meeting with my Clinical Oncologist in early January, I got the low-down on the make-up of the tumour cells tested. This confirmed a Low-Grade Glioma, and specifically a Grade II Diffuse Astrocytoma.

The tumour tissue was tested for the IDH1 mutation, and my tumour is IDH1 negative. My Oncologist explained that the presence of the IDH1 mutation can be a sign of more favourable outcomes and responses to treatment. Research (and the teams own experience) indicates that IDH1 negative tumours may behave more aggressively and have an increased tendency to reoccur.

Given this (and the fact that my tumour is now considered inoperable) a fairly aggressive approach to treatment is being taken. And I’m all up for that.

As with all of these things, no conclusions can be drawn at this stage and there’s a great degree of uncertainty.

I can tell you what the next few weeks and months will look like. Concurrent chemotherapy and radiotherapy for 6 weeks (33 sessions of radiotherapy to be precise), followed by 6 months of chemotherapy after a short break in-between.

At the end of the first week, I’m sharing some thoughts below.

I’ve mainly been getting to grips with my new medications (drawing the flowchart helped!!). I wiggled the toes on my left foot today for the first time since surgery and this is a pretty big leap in my rehabilitation. I’m really chuffed.

  • By the second session, you start to recognise people in the waiting room. It’s quite strange going to the same place every day and before the fatigue sets in I’m trying to be productive in the mornings so my days are not only about radiotherapy.
  • There’s nothing more disappointing than hearing the Radiographers coming back into the room (thinking your treatment is finished) when in fact your mask wasn’t quite aligned properly so it needs to be adjusted and treatment started again.
  • I’m desperate to get my hair cut but cutting anymore off than a very minimal trim would mean my mask won’t fit properly. I’m going to wait and see what my hair loss is like but I may well join the wig-club and have some fun with it.
  • I wore my all-time favourite red lipstick each day and it really lifted me. I’m not sure if I’m the only person wearing lipstick with my radiotherapy mask but I don’t really care. I haven’t been told off yet.
  • Day five was bittersweet. I was pleased to have finished the first week and got my nails done to celebrate but I’ve been having seizures affecting the left side of my body in the last few weeks and had one in the waiting area. There were benefits to having it there – it was logged on my file immediately and I was fully checked over by a Doctor. I’m already increasing my anti-seizure meds but may need to start taking steroids again.  Watch this space and I’ll report back.

Thanks as always for reading.

Mac Ruby Woo Red Lipstick


  • Kate Lagan March 6, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for taking the time to write this post and having the courage to share your journey, because that’s what it is, a trek into the wilderness of the unknown and you are navigating your way across this tough terrain and facing the daily challenges that you come up against . You give us a window into a world that most of us won’t know about or understand and yet we will almost all be touched by (if not us then someone we care about) something that will have a profound impact on our lives that we had not planned for. Your courage, adaptiveness, resilience, pro-activiness and fashionista-ness is an inspiration to us all!

    • Sarah Gaffney March 9, 2017 at 11:23 am

      Thanks Kate for such lovely and encouraging words XX

  • Juliette Kumar February 15, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Just discovered red carpet lippy by Catherine Tilbury, deep red Matt and gorgeous 😗💋

    • Sarah Gaffney February 15, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      Sounds lovely! I must give this one a try too 💄😘 x

  • Matthew W February 15, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Do you think the lipstick would do anything for me Sarah?

    • Sarah Gaffney February 15, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      Hehe, i’d quite like to see you giving it a go Matthew 🙂 x

  • Maureen February 14, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Love the lippy…defo going to get some and wear it scrubbing the bathroom tiles…that’s got to be the most inappropriate wear for it…or am I taking the sophistication out of the ruby red devil lipstick?!

    • Sarah Gaffney February 15, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Would love you to join the Ruby Woo club Maureen. I think it adds sophistication…. even to scrubbing tiles!! xx

  • Cath Wright February 13, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Love a good flowchart! Keep up the positivity and hopefully see you soon. Cath x

    • Sarah Gaffney February 15, 2017 at 11:09 am

      Thank you Cath xx

  • Jane fraser February 13, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Strangely enough,I’m in Paris and wore my Ruby Woo while cleaning the bathroom. It really does cheer you up.
    I am sure your positive attitude will help see you through these tough months.
    You are amazing!!

    • Sarah Gaffney February 15, 2017 at 11:10 am

      Thank you Jane. I love this image… So Parisian 🙂

  • Raj Lal February 13, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Sorry to hear you’re facing all these trials. Great to hear you’re staying positive. I’m sure your story will inspire many others – keep writing and sharing. All the best xx

    • Sarah Gaffney February 15, 2017 at 11:10 am

      Thank you so much Raj x

  • Jen Heyes February 13, 2017 at 12:24 am

    Your Fabulous. Take Care and thanks for the brilliant writing. MAC Ruby Woo is my Fave too x

    • Sarah Gaffney February 15, 2017 at 11:11 am

      Thanks Jen for the positive vibes 🙂 x

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