Next step in my cancer treatment regime was being fitted for my radiotherapy mask.
Man, you don't think that was fun!! I had to lie down while they placed a whole mass of hot, gooey, soft plastic that melted into the folds/features of my face and shoulders. I had to basically hold my breath and think of anything else except what was happening to me. The nurses, who were very helpful and comforting, told me this was the point when many patients simply couldn't stand it and threw the mask off, ruining the whole procedure…which had to be done again…no matter what! The mask would then cool over time and be used for every one of my daily radiotherapy treatments.
Each treatment would last only about 10 to 15 minutes, but there was always preparation before and wind down afterwards. So the whole procedure would take about an hour…sometimes even longer, if the treatment room was running behind schedule, which was the norm, rather than the exception.
Mind you, while I was waiting for my turn, I got to meet and talk with lots of very brave people, who were in far worse medical predicaments than me. I was always amazed at their positive approach to each treatment. We always joked about putting bread on our chests that would come out as toast. Mind you, we never actually did this. It just lightened the mood. I developed some very close friendships in the waiting room and I'm pleased to say we are all still friends. We have all survived (and thrived) since those “dark days”!! I pray they all have long lives ahead of them…
So, I would literally be strapped into my mask after lying down on the very cold, hard bench. I needed to be absolutely rigid and still. They needed to accurately pinpoint where the radiation had to aim at…the cancers in my neck and throat. This was no time to get claustrophobic!! The mask would literally squash down onto my face and chest and often times, leave a very deep gauze like impression on my face, especially my chin.
There's more to come about this procedure, which I will leave it for next time…
Check out me as I was strapped into my mask for treatment. See the infra red lines on my torso, lining me up to make sure I was positioned perfectly for my 10 minutes (or so) of treatment…lots of fun…if only!