Monday, July 31, 2006

Yes, it does come off!


Yes, it does come off!
Originally uploaded by Bibliotek.

Me and my new mask. The radiation therapist said that at the end of treatment I get to take the critter home. I have seen some on the web that people have turned into artwork. The first thing that came to my mind to do with it was to toss it into a wood chipper or in front of a blowtorch... Bless their hearts - the radiation therapists said I had a small head. They sure know how to win a person over! (grin!). The next time I meet up with this thing will be later this week while it fails to screen out the radiation beams. I heard that they play music while the treatment is going on. With all of the mechanical noise, I hope it is loud!

Mask cooled and hardened


Mask cooled and hardened
Originally uploaded by Bibliotek.

I appreciate the radiation therapist that took this photo. I still have to ask what the tapes on the mask mean - it was hard to talk while the mask was on, and I forgot to ask when they set me free.

Simulation Day

Today was Simulation Day. Simulation is where the radiation therapists and radiation oncologist get everything ready to factor treatment decisions that will take place for me over the next 8 weeks. One major thing that had to take place was creating the mask that will hold me still during treatments. Like I had discovered on the children's radiation website (folks just don't tell adults enough to prepare for what is going to happen to them sometimes!), the plastic mesh mask that had been heated to around 160 degrees F felt like a hot, wet washcloth when the skilled radiation therapist pulled it over my face and snapped it to the table. They put cooler washcloths on the mesh to cool the mesh as they made sure it was molding to my head. Before the mesh cooled and hardened, I could feel my pulse in my neck pushing on the mesh - yeah, I was a tad nervous. I never felt trapped (not by the mask, anyway). A couple of x-rays later, we all went into another room so they could do a CT scan on me with the mask on. The information gathered will get ground through the big computer and the team of physicists, producing a program on how they are going to 'Swiffer' out those cancer cells from my left cheek. I had to sign a consent that mentioned the side effects that could happen - but I am holding faith that the professionals and their computer program will work to minimize all foreseen events. (I wonder if they ever have to reboot THEIR computer??-grin!)
Up to today, I have been healing from the surgery, and enjoying relief from the pain in my jaw that has been my companion for 3 years. I have also been gathering strength for the healing yet to begin, after I start receiving doses of cell-killing radiation 5 days a week. The cancer cells will be on their way out - good riddance. My concern is with the recovery of the healthy cells that need to stay that way despite being zapped daily. I also have to recognize that no matter what I have done to prepare for the radiation and its possible side and after effects, I could still get thrown a curve and something unforseen will happen. The phrase "taking things day by day" has taken on a whole new meaning for me now - and thanks to my many, many family & friends sending support through jokes, dinners, information, and prayers, I think I can actually enjoy each day as it comes.
 
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