When I started this blog after my diagnosis, I did say I was not sure where this tail of the unexpected would lead. I did not imagine in my wildest dreams that I would be a (self -appointed) Breast Cancer Correspondent from Bangkok during these troubled times in the city. Looking back over my posts of the past few days, I see that this is what seems to have happened.
It is in no way my intention to go into detail on the situation here. There are plenty of reports, images and analyses from experts and eye witnesses. No, my insight is purely on how it affects my breast cancer experience.
Back in March, my 7th chemo coincided with the beginning of the protests and even at that stage I connected it with my breast cancer treatment. We returned to Bangkok for chemo 8 on 3 April and have stayed on for the radiation treatment. The protests have been part of life all the time we have been here. We have not felt in any danger, but have felt the effects in many ways.
The past few days we have seen a considerable escalation in the tension. As time passed following Monday’s ultimatum to the protesters, I felt a tangible ease of tension generally around us. I was able to have my 20th radiation zap and meet with the Consultant yesterday.
When I woke up this morning and checked email and news, I abruptly learned about the move to clear the protesters. A wee sneaky peek from the rooftop showed plenty of smoke and I could see the helicopter circling over the area, as well as a small fixed wing plane up above.
We all know that it has become a critical day for Bangkok. Tension and nervousness have been palpable.
As my appointment time approached, it was matched by increasing speculation of a curfew. It was soon confirmed that there will be a curfew across Bangkok from 8 pm tonight. I was fairly sure the hospital would phone if my treatment would be cancelled so we prepared for our very short trip. The streets were pretty quiet and even the little tuk tuk belonging to our apartment block was unable to run. Fuel is restricted because it has apparently been used in the fires, and our little tuk tuk was out of juice.
Things seemed to be running fairly normally at the hospital and on arrival I was swallowed up by the usual routing – Blood Pressure, weight and temperature checks, change into gown, wait and then into the Linac radiation Bunker. (The treatment room is called the Bunker – how ironic!) In the Bunker, the staff soon made sure I knew about the curfew and knew not to go out this evening. Then I was put back into my mould, covered in the jelly pad and left to be zapped. Number 21 was soon over, and I was again removed from my mould, released from the Bunker, and sent to change and to go straight home. Already the hospital was showing signs of the impending curfew – cafés and shops closing and people rushing to get home. I have just learned that this is the first curfew Bangkok has seen in around 15 years so the nervousness is highly understandable.
We reached home quickly, a good 3 hours before the curfew was due to begin and settled in for the night. From one bunker to another.
We have no idea what tomorrow will bring and no idea if we can head to the radiation bunker for Zap No 22. We are safe and sound and bunkered nicely down for the night as the dramatic reports and footage from other parts of the city continue to be aired.