My friend Carolyn transported me to the Cancer Center and went to all the appointments I had prior to the procedure. Lots of paperwork and information given by many staff members. I was pleased to learn that I may qualify for financial assistance. Completed the forms and will know something in a week or so. My out of pocket cost for each treatment will be $50 - $1750 for the 7 weeks of treatment.
So, yesterday was the day of the mask. I was well prepared for what was to come. My best friend Xanax was taking good care of me and I was very pleased at how well I responded to the procedure. The technicians were friendly and talked me through the whole process which helped to put me at ease. Carolyn stayed in an outer room where she could observe through a glass wall.
Once the mask was molded to my head and shoulders I was placed in the CAT Scan machine in order to take measurements. This went by quickly and I didn't panic. I've had several CAT Scans so the machine is very familiar to me.
As the warm, wet plastic screen was being placed on my face my eyes were open. I wanted to see what it looked like. I really thought that I would need to keep my eyes closed to reduce the anxiety. However, I opened my eyes several times during the process. My eyelashes touched the screen and I was not able to completely open my eyes. At one point I felt that the mask was too tight around my neck and I had trouble breathing. After this was adjusted I felt fine.
I did not get to see the Elekta Infinity Linear Accelerator on this day. We will meet at my next visit in about a week for a practice run then my first treatment out of 35.
We went to the hospital food court and got sandwiches then returned home. I was thankful that I didn't have to drive as I was not able to walk in a straight line. I felt a little weak, drugged, and extremely relieved that it was over. I also felt some pride in myself for not having any problems with high anxiety while the mask was being molded to my face.
I think one of the reasons I was calm was because one of the staff members explained that I was not going to be bolted to the table and indeed would be able to sit up. The mask is snapped to the head rest which is snapped to the table. Once I heard this, I felt a great deal of relief.
So now I just have to wait for the Radiation Oncologist to check the measurements and approve the readings and then I will receive a phone call telling me when to go back for the treatment. It should be in about a week.
Once I got home I slept for about 5 hours. My neighbor Carolyn brought me some medical supplies which now cover a large portion of my kitchen counter and which I am grateful for. Lots of lotions and creams for skin care that I am going to need. I still have many other supplies to get but there is time for that.