Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tests tests and more tests

They just can't leave well enough alone can they? So much for a two week hiatus in between chemo and radiation as not only do we have the normal follow ups and the mask making session, now I get to go spend the afternoon being scanned. Previously I might have been concerned about the amount of radiation this subjects me too as we did some Friday as well but considering what is forthcoming........ what's another scan?

Speaking of the upcoming regiment that is bound to make Jeff glow, I previously referred to the "shop of horrors" and my visit Friday to make my mask. What an experience and process that was and it certainly creates some anxiety for the treatment itself. and if you are claustrophobic there is no way! Hell I may be by the time it's over.

I will admit they certainly try to make the lil shop as comfortable as possible with the soothing music, a mosaic on the ceiling with blue sky and billowing white clouds, all in an attempt to distract you from the issue at hand. Never mind the ginormous machine that sweeps all around you with its lasers, and then there is the mask itself. To make this, you lie down on the machine itslef and go through a bunch of adjustment to align you just so with the lasers. Then they come over with what feels like a nice warm towel, lay it across your chest and literally roll it up over your head. Turns out it is a mesh like substance and they start with what is almost a nice facial massage forming it too the contures of your face. then as it starts to dry and mold, it begins to tighten. That is an odd and somewhat unnerving feeling but it does not last too long before they remove the mold and there is now a perfect mesh likeness of me. Made me think of that Travolta/Cage movie a few years back-Face Off. Now they let it set for 45 minutes before we go up to imaging to take pictures of the inside of my head/neck so they can line everything up for the actual treatment.

Now is when it gets spooky. The mask has now completely hardened and when I again lie down on the table and they place it on me, they literally lock it down on the board so you can not move. It is so tightly formed that you literally cannot even speak as there is no room for your jaw to move. Swallowing is even difficult as that motion is also restricted around the neck and as the actual sessions are only around 10 minutes, all they are really concerned with is that you can breath. I have to admit, I am not claustrophobic however I found myself getting worked up when they leave me alone in the imaging room to plot the scans on the computer. A very helpless feeling and they must have noticed I was getting anxious as after a few minutes of silence the tech started talking to me until they were ready to run you through the machine. Again all quite unnerving and this is just the prep appointment. I can't even imagine when I go back Monday and they have finished this mask. Remember, on this visit, it was mesh-when I go back, the physics guys and the doctors will have plotted the treatment area and filled in all but the areas they wish the beams to traverse..............YIKES!

More on this as I experience it but for now, back to the big Q for the afternoon!

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