Radiation Mask Fitting; Treatments to Start This Week

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!

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20 Responses to Radiation Mask Fitting; Treatments to Start This Week

  1. Liz Williams says:

    A friend of ours actually did turn his mask into a green man and stuck it on a pole in the garden. Our very best continued thoughts to you, Eugie.

  2. Totally can relate to the scheduling limbo thing. Glad you’re starting up so soon! All the sooner it will get its ass kicked. I get my first labwork from the first chemo tomorrow so we’ll see how I did. I love the idea of a green man mask out of it!

  3. I honestly cannot comprehend how u keep seemingly upbeat about what is happening in your body…..I would be going insane with worry by now.

  4. Eugie Foster says:

    Claudia Tucker: Oh, I assure you, I’ve had and expect I will continue to have plenty of gibbering terror moments.

  5. Anne says:

    I had a form I could clutch to my bosom, which is what was under attack. They also marked me up with what I called bad modern art. You will make it. It’s incredibly boring. I divided mine into fractions: Four treatments meant I was one-ninth of the way through. It did seem to make it go faster. Then I ended up having additional treatments. But it ended. Wish I could make it all go away, but that’s what doctors are for.

  6. Janice Clark says:

    Now your magical mask of power is finished, however unpleasant its creation, the time has come to zap that cancer. Your support team are all sending positive energy to make this thing work.

  7. Matt Schafer says:

    Fun CT stickers… I think I can make this happen.

  8. Keep on fighting the good fight Eugie!

  9. Dave Duggins says:

    Send good healing vibes. As Captain Kirk would say: We’re stronger WITH you than WITHOUT you!

  10. E Krock says:

    You can go trick or treating at Halloween dressed as Hannibal Lechter!!! I will continue to pray for avenging rays of radioactive fire to bring the tumor cells to a horrible and decisive death!

  11. Amy Uzarski says:

    Glad you are starting the radiation in a couple days, Eugie, curse those cells!

  12. Gavin says:

    Your updates are great, thank you. Bring that fire, be well!

  13. Eugie, I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. That mask–more than a mask, my friend. It’s armor. Only instead of protecting you from slings and arrows, it’s pointing the way, so they know precisely, down to the micron, where to go. *big hugs*

  14. One step closer.

    I’ve had you in my thoughts and am sending healing vibes your way.

    KILL CANCER WITH FIRE!

  15. Every step is a good thing.

  16. Val Grimm says:

    Wishing you well . ..

  17. Zap those cancerous cells!

  18. Diana Munoz Stewartd says:

    Kill it with FIRE! Yes! Yes! Yes!

  19. Amy Herring says:

    I also vote for green man BUT when the mask does its hero job, I say run it for president! It’s got my vote!!!!
    Wish we could bear this burden for you. <3

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