Today, as I promised yesterday I took photos of my radiation mask, which I was able to bring home with me after my last treatment on Monday. I’ll get to those photos in a moment. I thought that since this is project not just for me to open up and be honest about this whole experience but also to perhaps help those who are about to go through the same thing I add some explanation and commentary. For me the worst part of this whole journey has been the not knowing, the unexpected and the uncertainty. It’s true what they say, knowledge is power.
When make your sim appointment and they tell you that at that appointment they’ll make a mask you just can’t begin to picture what they are talking about or at least I couldn’t. Quite simply the mask is made of plastic mesh. It’s used to secure you to the table so they are able to treat the exact same spot every day and blessedly it allows them to not tattoo your face or write on you with I permanent markers. It’s warm and wet when they make it at the first sim appointment.
I’m claustrophobic and was quite unsettled by the idea of having my head secured to the table by a mask. I’m not going to lie to you. It was uncomfortable and unsettling and claustrophobic but after a while you get used to it and the treatments get shorter after the initial week or so of planning and making sure everything is set up correctly.
This is me on May 9, 2011, the night before my treatments were scheduled to begin.
This is me today, June 29, 2011, 2 days after my last radiation treatment.
As you can see I’m here, a little more worse for the wear but alive, well and healing. My ears don’t burn as much as they did last week and the skin on my head is looking a little rough but it is nothing that won’t heal with a little TLC, some Aquaphor and some time. I know everything seems so terrifying and insurmountable in the beginning but truthfully if a wimp like me can make it through so can you.
Okay, so back to the mask. The first two photos are of the mask from the right and left sides.
The next two photos are of the front and the back or I suppose inside may be a better word for the 2nd photo.
The final two photos are of what the mask looks like on your head. You can find a good description and images of what the table and machine look like and how the mask fits into the table here.
There is no pain, no sensation, no loud noises nothing to make you otherwise uncomfortable during the treatments.
So there you have it, an explanation and photos of the mask. Thanks so much for stopping by every day. I love you all.
With much love and great affection,
~ Carol Anne