Pointing to the CT scans on his screen, the radiation oncologist explains what the main plan is to do as much damage as possible to the possible remaining metastases. The main plan, because the detailed plan will be based and calculated on the basis of the planning CT scan that will be made this week.

Most likely I will receive 22 low dose radiations on my armpit and chest wall (where the amputated chest was) combined with as many high dose radiations on the sternum. Then 3 more highly concentrated radiations – very precisely aimed at the affected vertebra. Each radiation treatment means a separate visit to the radiation center. I will have to go there almost every working day for almost six weeks; on weekends there is no radiation therapy and every now and then the device is given a day off for maintenance. If all goes well, I’ll be done with all the radiation just before New Year’s Eve. Results achieved in the past (in other patients) offer no guarantee for the future, but they do provide the substantiated expectation that the cancer will not appear ever again in those places.

The radiotherapy may damage the skin, although that skin will probably recover nicely within a few weeks. The radiated bones can be permanently weakened, but the scans clearly show that my bones are strong now, so apart from some stabbing pain, little lasting misery is expected. I have to count on considerable fatigue and that can last for a long time afterwards.

With a lot of knowledge and expertise, a radiation plan is developed that is mainly aimed at protecting my heart, which is close to the irradiated areas. My heart is pumping excellently and everyone wants to keep it that way. However, my heart does not feel completely healthy and pain free. The raw mourning for the loss of my man who was always on my side and I now need so much, the imposed small world in which I have been living for so long because of the treatments and Covid-19, the loss of energy and the lost faith in a future, they pressure my heart. Unfortunately, radiotherapy cannot radiate that problem and pain away. But the sympathetic, well-listening radiotherapist-oncologist and his cordial colleagues clearly want to do everything they can to pamper my heart in every way.