Pippa Rea

Pippa's Journey with a Brain Tumour

Radiotherapy Comes to an End

on September 6, 2013

Six and a half weeks of radiotherapy and the second stage of the life we have been thrown into is over. I don’t actually know how I feel about it. I thought I would feel happy.

I feel a little vulnerable because I don’t have the security of being at a hospital every day.

I feel a little anxious because I won’t know for a long time what’s happened on the inside; although the outside signs are truly positive.

I felt a bit sad this week because radiation was coming to an end. I cried this week because I heard the recording of the most beautiful song I would ever hear – an angelic voice singing about what should have been a very frightening experience. I had tears today when I said goodbye to people that have helped us every single day over the last 7 weeks.

I laughed today when Pippa leapt off the bed for the last time, ran out of the room, down the tunnel and out the doors with radiotherapists chasing after her. She was presented with a bunch of colourful balloon flowers, and a cartoon drawing. Soon she will received a dvd of her experiences with her song as the backing track. She posed for photos and promptly threw the balloon flowers in the air as soon as the cameras had finished clicking.

The approach the staff at Peter Macallum Cancer Centre have to paediatric radiotherapy is truly beautiful. Children come into an adult hospital to be treated in an isolated room by a massive machine that exudes strange noises and smells. Their body part being treated is strapped in still and lined up with laser beams. Despite all this, our experience has only been positive, supportive and caring throughout the whole process. From reception to music therapy, to mask adjustments and of course, radiotherapy, every single staff member has been a joy to deal with and a pleasure to be around. Never once have I hesitated in leaving Pippa alone in that treatment room because they make us feel so secure. Never once has Pippa asked for me to come back in. Requests have been accommodated without hesitation and our continual entourage of visitors have been welcomed and included. I cannot thank each one of them enough for making our experience not only bearable, but pleasant, happy and memorable.

Over the past few days Pippa has written more than 25 thank you cards to every person she has met across our course of radiation. Each card included a photo and a specific comment about that particular person or what they have done for her.

This week small changes have been happening. The steroids which perform such an important job initially are now no longer required and their side affects are starting to visibly reduce. Pippa has her old cheeky personality back most of the time, the chatter is starting to be constant again and she wants to be more active. Her eye has opened a bit wider, closes a bit more and tries really hard to move. Her balance and coordination seems to be better. These are small signs and these are good signs, but we know that it’s still a long commitment we’ve signed up for.

Today radiation came to an end and now we have a month off before our next phase begins.

5 responses to “Radiotherapy Comes to an End

  1. Narelle Hill says:

    Welcome home Virginia & Pippa! I’m glad this horrible experience has been made a lot easier with all your fabulous support crew. We’re all riding this journey with you xo

  2. martina says:

    thanks Virginia, love your updates
    we are so lucky in this country to have support teams like we do aren’t we
    thinking & praying for you & Pippa all the time

  3. Hammond says:

    We miss you already Pippa (and Virginia!). Our days are not the same without your happy faces.

    The staff at M3 all love the blog and we look forward to seeing more updates as things improve.

    All the best! Hammond, Aleece, Janelle, Katie, Brigid, Tamsin, Emily et al!

  4. jassicunn says:

    How fantastic to see even small improvements each day! We are very blessed with the best of the best here in this country! It does help when the patient is equally if not more amazing though! Great stuff Pippa! we are right beside you xx

  5. Jacquie says:

    Yah! How amazing you have been through this chapter! You are truly inspirational! Looking forward to seeing you all. Would soooo love to hear this sound track pippa!

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