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Radiation Mask Fitting; Treatments to Start This Week

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Had my mask fitting last week for my radiation treatments. (The mask is to keep my head in place during therapy, as positioning and placement, down to the millimeter, is crucial.) Essentially, they laid me out out on this very hard, very uncomfortable platform inside a big, white metal doughnut/CT scanner, injected me with contrast, draped a hot and dripping mask template over my head and neck, and strapped me down so I couldn’t move while the mask hardened to the contours of my face and the CT machine slid me into its maw. Oh, and somewhere in there, they pasted stickers on my torso and drew on me with a black marker (boring medical stickers; nothing fun like Happy Bunny or Hello Kitty).

Were I at all claustrophobic, I would’ve been traumatized.

As it was, it was just uncomfortable, kinda disconcerting, and vaguely comical. They showed me the mask when they were done, and I reflected that I have a very small nose. And they also told me I get to keep the mask at the end of my radiation treatments, whereupon I tried to think of something to do with it. Decorate it with glitter and magic markers? Impale it on a pole and stick it in the yard to deter door-to-door salesmen and Jehovah’s witnesses? Use it as an avant-garde candy bowl for guests? I think it’s too large to serve as a good bookend. Maybe an emergency colander…which brings up the question of what, exactly, constitutes a colander emergency?

They were going to schedule my first radiation treatment for next Monday, but after talking to the doctor and expressing concern about waiting even a few extra days to start hammering back this incredibly aggressive tumor, he agreed that we should start sooner. So my first treatment is Thursday, and I’ll have daily treatments after that, excepting weekends and holidays. For how long? We still don’t know. Thought we’d get a concrete action plan after the results of my last PET scan came in, but it seems an eternal state of scheduling limbo is just how cancer treatments roll.

I am glad we’re starting this week. Knowing there’s still active cancer cells waiting to make my life hell again is just fermenting hypochondriac anxiety. Every twinge in my sinuses or head, and I wonder, “Is that the tumor?” And I’ve had several twinges already. But I honestly don’t know if it’s the tumor hurting me or just some random ache–of which chemo has left me with many.

I want this tumor dead dead dead. Kill it with FIRE!

Originally published at EugieFoster.com. You can comment here or there.

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On June 3rd, 2014 10:27 pm (UTC), Terry Hickman commented:
I vote for the popcorn bowl idea, for the party you throw once you've murdered ALL THE CANCER.

Good luck, sweetie. I'm glad you're not claustrophobic, and I hope it works and the side effects are mild. Courage, Pippin!
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On June 3rd, 2014 11:41 pm (UTC), brithistorian commented:
Glad to hear your doctors seem to really be on top of things as far as moving up treatments to what's best for you rather than what's convenient. Wishing you all the best with your treatments.
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On June 4th, 2014 01:04 am (UTC), desperance commented:
I have had colander emergencies! The most recent was only days, days I tell you, after deciding that I really didn't need a second colander. How wrong, how very wrong I was...

(In other news, I now have an image of you doing a sort of reverse-dragon thing, inhaling fire to slay the beast in your sinuses. Which is kind of awesome, actually. As are you.)
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On June 4th, 2014 01:47 am (UTC), patchworkorange commented:
Jeffrey had the same mask made and yes, he kept it after. But we couldn't bear to look at it after awhile so it was ceremoniously destroyed.

He kept copies of every MRI and test result. And he has a very detailed print out of the the levels of radiation and where *exactly* it will hit. All those stickers corresponded to a certain place on the little "bubble man" image they used on this print out. Actually kind of cute and very like the Michelin Man :)

Will your radiation hit around your eyebrow? Jeffrey lost all hair on that side of his head and it never grew back. But it was worth a little life ;)
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On June 4th, 2014 08:17 pm (UTC), coronalrain commented:

As someone who is claustrophobic just reading that freaks me out.

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