It’s a radiotherapy machine you have to work yourself – yes, you, as the patient. There is a nurse standing next to me as I lie on the bed
part of the machine. And I mean bed in the loosest term possible – bed, as in something you lie on, not anything providing comfort.
The nurse has short blonde, spiky hair and glasses, which all seems relevant somehow. She is wearing a small smile, as if she doesn’t have
a care in the world. I’m not sure what’s happening, but clearly it isn’t her job to tell me. Not her problem.
I have to point the laser part of the machine myself. My hoodie keeps falling into its path and I pull it out of the way. When the laser falls on a spot or blemish – of which I appear to have several on my chest and
stomach – the display on the machine tells me whether or not I should zap it. It tells me exactly what’s wrong with the spot and how likely it is that the laser will fix the problem.
Press start to begin, the machine says. I don’t know if all this effort is going to make any difference. I don’t know if it will hurt. I think I’m supposed to hold onto the handles above my head but I need at least
one hand free to work the machine. I press start and point the laser at one of my bumpy red spots. It stings – not on the surface, but deeper. I flit from one spot to another. There are several of them. I don’t know how long I should point the laser at each one. I don’t know what I’m doing but it’s all on me. It’s my fault if it doesn’t work.
I wake up. Something tells me I should be grateful it was a dream. I should feel lucky.
My nightmares don’t make me feel lucky.
Five years on and still
Don’t tell me I’m lucky.
Especially if you’re not
a cancer survivor or
patient. I’m not all