Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pre Radiation Treatment

The mask is what holds the head and neck area in the same place every time Radiation is done. After mapping out on the computer for a week and a half, they need to insure that the work was not wasted. You must be in the exact same position every time. It would not be prudent to radiate the tongue one time and the spinal cord the next with the same beam. So as horrible as it looks, it is a needed part of the treatment. And it really is not that bad anyway.
The outer rim of the mask snaps down to the table and holds you in place. Yep, It is snug alright. Barely enough room to swallow. But it works. I can breathe and see, what else matters? Today I had a contrast done. This is a cat scan with iodine infused via IV so that is kinda lites up what they need to see. This way they can further map out what needs to be radiated and at what strengths. So as the meds work into the system you get pretty warm indeed. For some reason your posterior end seems to warm up fast and with intensity. Almost to the point of being on fire. ( maybe a tad bit imaginary, but you do get very warm in that area.)

Having the mask made was no biggie. It is a fine mesh plastic that is warmed up and placed on your head and formed to your face. In 4-5 minutes, you are done. The hard part is up to the techs that map out the treatment. If you do your part and hold still, they do their part and map out the beams and particles of beams properly, combine that with proper Chemo, and they should kill the cancer in 8 weeks. At least that is the idea of it all. Certainly what I hope for! Kinda not looking forward to all the side effects of radiation nor the current side affects of the chemo, but in 12 weeks or less, it will all be over, and I should be cancer free. Again, in theory. Then it is a mere wait for the next five years. Five years of testing to see if it come back. Five years of wondering. And as each year passes and I get a clean bill of health, it will be one more time I can laugh in the face of cancer. I can fly the flag of survivorship.


Dr. Swill said...

You SIR are a braver man than I. My mask was so hot when they made it, it burned my face. It's all in the archives!

I hated that thing! When my last day came they handed it to me and said I could take it home! LOL WHY??? They said some people like to hang it on the wall or burn it in a fire. I never wanted to see it again. I handed it back!

I have no problem with the MRI or CT Scan but I NEVER want that mask on me again. I know it's only like 10 minutes a day.

You should feel fine until week 4 or 5 then...well just have some help around.

I drank Noni Juice before treatment and Aloe Vera Juice after. The doctors said it wouldn't hurt, but didn't suggest it. But, they couldn't figure out why I sailed through radiation without taking my pain med's. It was just uncomfortable for me and the Chemo/Rad wore me out physically. I'm sure using the feeding tube also helped keep the pain down too.

Thank your for your comment on my blog, I left you a comment back.


Jan Doble said...

i just came upon your blog and though i have not read much of it i wish to send you good thoughts. the reason i'm commenting on this particular post is that when i saw your mask it totally reminded me of what i went through in 2003 and into Jan. of 2004. I had mucoepidermoid cancer of the minor salivary glands on the hard and soft palate. a strange place to have it; and i wasn't a fact they said smoking was not a cause of that type of head and neck cancer. i went through 3 surgeries, and up into the nasal passage to get it. then they did a forearm freeflap transplant to cover up the hole in the roof of my mouth...and i could get rid of the prosthesis i wore for a while. the 35 radiation sessions weren't too bad, really...i did get quite tired, and eventually it did burn the heck out of my mouth. i lost 35 lbs. in no time flat. i couldn't eat, and could barely drink...i had about 1 ensure a day, that's all i could handle. BUT the good news is, that 4 years post surgery i am still totally cancer free...even though i'm told this can recur as far out as 20 years later. i just totally avoid thinking of that! now, i told you my story...and ONLY to give you hope. you WILL make it, and your mouth will heal and you'll learn to adjust. i wish you well! jan