Yesterday was my first day to get the whole brain radiation. They had warned me that it would be a long day because of measurements, xrays, and basically setting it all up. And they weren't kidding! First on the agenda was making me a "mask". They take a porous material - you can see the many holes - and wet it down which makes it pliable. Then it is wrapped over your face giving you the feeling of being suffocated in spite of knowing there are holes through which you can breathe. Just when you feel it is really too tight, it is pushed down further on your face and bolted onto the table. This is not for the claustrophobic. I got to stay in this position for quite a while as they made marks, adjustments, raised and lowered the table, twisted and moved my face by fractions until everything was just right. Except that it wasn't so we repeated the process several times. The very kind technician gave me a break from the dreadful mask now and then but I always had to return to it.
We found out later that my radiation oncologist is a perfectionist and wanted to get things exactly right. Now if there's ever a time for perfectionism, I say this is it. As far as I'm concerned, he could have taken the whole day if the goal was precision. I consider my brain one of my favorite body parts and one which I'd like to be able to use in the future to it's fullest capacity. (Oops...this leaves me wide open for editorial comment and unkind jokes.)
I was given my first radiation treatment after all was set properly - the actual radiation only lasts for a few minutes - and was finally free to go. I felt fine until a few hours later when queasiness and a headache developed, eventually reaching the throbbing level. I took an Aleve but was still hurting until my friends prayed for me. Immediately the pain decreased and after more prayer, disappeared altogether! Today's treatment was much quicker and there's been no headache. Yeah! The doctor offered me a steroid drug to combat the brain swelling but assured me I wouldn't like the side effects so if I could tough out the headaches, I'd be better off. However, he gave me a prescription just in case.
The countdown begins. Only 13 more treatments to go!