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Monday, July 31, 2006

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.


Anonymous said...

I saw Nancy at St. Louis and she gave me your blog site. I don't know what took me so long to check it out. Today I read through each and every account and marvel how you have kept your humor. What a marvelous idea to share your experience with others. My Dad had lung cancer and is taking radiation and chemo. He is 82 and seems to be tolerating his tx very well. He is hoping to be well enough to go to Florida mid December as he has done for the past 20 years. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Michelle said...

Thank for recording your journey and for somehow finding & contacting me (Inkspirational Designs). Your description of the mask being made is the FIRST and only one that I have found so far. Since this is my next step I have to undertake, I was extremely interested in gathering as much info as possible. You mention that you had to"sign a consent that mentioned the side effects that could happen". What possible side effects are you talking about? With just having a mask made? or the treatment itself? Please elaborate for me.

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