Breathing Lessons

To prepare for radiotherapy, I recently discovered that I’ll need to be able to hold my breath.

This is especially important because the laser is going to be focussed on my left side, near my heart.

Originally I had been told that 15 seconds would be enough.

After a bit of practice, this became reassuringly quite manageable.

As I hadn’t played this ‘game’ since I was 8, it was definitely a case of (unexpectedly) reviving an old skill.

I felt I was doing well.


But now apparently, I should (ideally) be aiming to hold my breath for up to 30 seconds!


30 seconds is ages!

That is for elite breath-holders!

If I really have to hold my breath for 30 seconds, I think something may POP!

My lungs, my cheeks, my mind!

As for most people, nearly all my childhood training in breath-holding was done in the bath.

This was to prove that I wasn’t cheating but also to make the whole process way more exciting (with the end of performance tidal wave as I rushed to the surface for air).

Sadly, that is no longer an option.

These days I dare not ever submerge my hair in a bath, as the chances are it would all suddenly float away.

So there will be no underwater training phase for me this time round.

And definitely no dramatic rising up from a lying down position after these breath-holding sessions either.

How awkward and disappointing!


The tricky part for me will be having to stay calmly motionless under the radiotherapy machine – on the outside and on the inside.

At the same time.

For a long time.

And for several times in a row.

But as the (potential) ‘punishment’ could be a damaged heart, the stakes are high.

I do not want my heart to be fried!

Not even lightly.

Frankly, the radiotherapy machine experience looks set to be a fair bit worse than the CT scanner.


Holding my breath for 30 seconds may be a significant challenge - but possibly, eventually, an achievement too?

I honestly think that a person should be able to add a 30-second breath-holding feat to their CV.

Well, I guess that’s something new to aim for then.