Hi guys, just completed first 2 cycles of Brachy and thought I would share my experience:
The thought of brachy was a bit worrying, the sound of metal rods being stuck up you, stitches and morphine for the pain is basically how it was 'sold' to me by my consultant. I didnt like the sound of having an enema either but that was just like a small bottle of super glue being squirted up your back end and not being attached to a machine with tubes etc like i imagined colonic irrigation to be. they then put you on codeine to stop your bowels moving and you only get light snacks like toast, crackers and sandwiches for the duration of the treatment. on the day of the insertion of the rods they take you to theatre give you your GA and about an hour and a half later you're awake with your legs slightly spread, laying pretty flat with a pillow and stitches down below to keep it all in place, i had 3 which i gather is the average. Your head is raised by a pillow and the bed end is highered only slightly so you pelvis doesn't bend too much and you're given an oxygen mask to get the anaesthetic out of your system faster. My treatment was over 2 days, 1st treatment on tues and 2nd on wednesday, so i stayed in from monday to thursday with the rods inserted first thing tues morning and kept in overnight until being removed late wednesday afternoon. I stayed in the extra night more mainly for convenience but was allowed to leave wednesday evening had I wanted to as I felt fine.
While your 3 rods are in place you get rolled on to your sides by the nurses to freshen you up now and again and they will keep an eye on the positioning of the rods with CT scans before the brachy treatment, they slide you on and off different scan beds and back on to your own so that you dont move too much.The actual Brachy is a small metal machine which they attach cables to and attach the other end of the cables to the rods which are between your legs, its then turned on and the staff run out like for the external radio for about 15 minutes while you get internally zapped. It was done down in the radiotherapy ward for me but apparently they used to do it in your own room on the ward which is led lined but thats all changed now, you might be lucky to not be wheeled around so much if you can have it in your own room... either way it's all painless! I was given a morphine pump which is inserted into the top of your arm on a cable which stays in the whole time while in hospital, most doctors will prescribe this and you can have other meds as a top up. The nurses were concerned about having an MRI while having metal inside you for obvious reasons but I guess its the wrong kind of metal to be disturbed by the magnets. The only pain i had was when my consultant took one stitch out as it was pulling quite tightly, it killed as i wasnt given any pain relief before he cut it and by the time i was back on the ward i was in tears, my own fault for not complaining about the pain then and there, how were they to know? but then it just built up as everything down there was disturbed and moved, the nurse saw me and gave me an injection so the pain stopped within 2 minutes. My consultant was there at all the scans and also was the one who did the removal of my rods.
The removal was done under gas and air so it just had the feeling of the 'packing' being unravelled inside you but there was no pain and after i was given oral morphine so im sitting fine and dandy again, it all just feels swollen down there now so wipe gently when going to the loo. Theres a bit of blood so bring pads for after. Now I just need to do it all again next week and maybe 2 - 3 weeks again after but having done it once its no longer a worry. Bring drinks and small nibbles as my ward seemed to ignore me quite a lot so was left without water and had to keep requesting food, they only rolled me once which they should do every 2 hrs but that was fine by me i hate being fiddled with etc. just want the basics lol, that was just my misfortune, hope yours keep an eye on you more. On the plus side I had free wifi so could keep in touch with the outside world and we had a fridge and free TV so that really helped!!! Its annoying more than anything having nurses waiting on you hand and foot which i hate but it's lovely when you can finally get up and walk again, just be careful as it's a bit wobbly after all the time lying around, and my back aches a bit but nothing serious... just waiting for my antibiotics and my injections in a doggy bag to take with me then time to get a lift home and get some proper grub on the go... and a huge glass of wine of course : P
Hope it all helps to calm the panic xxxx