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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Update on handling the cold weather after head/neck radiation and a skullectomy

(Swiss cheese memory precludes my use of the correct term for the removal of skull bone that I experienced back in 2007.) Based on previous years' experience in dealing with the cold weather (really hurts the radiated area, as well as causes headaches around the skullectomy site), and needing to avoid taking the acetomeniphen/ibuprofen alternating doses through day after day during the winter (the kidneys and liver are both crying "uncle"), I have been trying other things. Naturally, I wrap up with whatever warm, soft, non-scratchy items whenever I am heading outside. Dear husband suggested that maybe the "warm" theory was one to follow inside as well, and came home with a soft knit hat for me to try. It worked! My theory on why the hats work inside: when they removed that silver-dollar spot on the left side of my head in 2007, the surgeon replaced the bone with a mesh plate, then covered the plate with a 'spare' (?!) muscle from my jaw. What happens when you get out in the cold weather - your head tenses up, right? (Ok, mine does) That tension hitting the rearranged muscle set me up for extreme headaches every year from about October to May, even inside. So now, I have been running around at work, wearing hats like a Little Rascals character, again living the good life drug free. Warm head = no or small headaches. This has kept me out of the MRI/CT machines (go and say "headache" when you have had a lesion or two in your head already, you are gonna get scanned!), and improved my outlook on life daily. Since I have heard that wigs are warm to wear, I may be looking into that option, just to shake up the fashion. I have a clown wig at home, a big rainbow colored thing....
The proper term for what I had done, where the skull was removed and not replaced, is craniectomy. I did not have brain surgery - they didn't have to go in after anything - but craniectomy and other aspects of brain surgery can be found on this MedlinePlus site about Brain Surgery:

1 comment:

Dee said...

Ooo ooo oooo, go for a collection of fun hats! I also have a good collection of scarves. What about kerchiefs? Well, have fun with the fashion might as well make it as fun as possible!

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