The Man in the…..

the mask

Plastic mask

Today I got my mask. I’m not the Man in the Iron Mask but rather the Man in the Plastic Mask.

It looks rather medieval and frightening and in many ways it is!

This mask, molded to my face will keep me pinned down to a table, unable to move my head while the radiation treatment burns out my cancer cells.

I’m sure I will come to hate it.

As well as mask fitting there was also a CT scan (with mask in place) to map my tumor in advance of the treatment. Apparently it takes 10-12 days to fully develop the treatment plan.

Just prior to the mask fitting the nurse asked me if I suffered from claustrophobia - because anxiety meds might help - not that I nor she had any anxiety meds, so I had to breathe deep a few times and brace myself for the ride.

Some people freak out at being in a Cat scan tube. Being inside the tube with a mask pinning you to the table, unable to see adds a whole new dimension. I can understand why some people find this so hard to do.

I had to remind myself that this mask was entirely necessary if I was to live. So suck it up buttercup!

After about 10 minutes I was relieved (very) to be released from my captive position.

One more step completed so the day is drawing nearer when I can get this tumor zapped and, I was going to say, return to a ‘normal’ life but then I remembered that ‘normal’ life has just been put on hold for everyone right now!

Wednesday brings a consultation with the surgeon who will fit my peg tube and life port - more on that to come.

Eating is getting increasingly difficult. Even scrambled eggs are a challenge to get down. Bits of egg get stuck in my throat and almost every mouthful need to be flushed down.

It is dangerous for me to feed on anything hard, or to force food down my throat. As a result we are now exploring smoothies and protein drinks and yogurts for nutrition. Because I am so anxious I really don’t have an appetite so this is a great way to keep me going and we can practice before I need to use the feeding tube.

I’ve also developed Dyspnea, which I’ve had for a while but didn’t know what it was. Nikki knew exactly what it was (difficulty in getting a full breath of air) and also correctly reckoned it was caused by anxiety. I’ve now got the doc to prescribe some anti-anxiety meds and hope they will help.

Things are starting to steady down now. Linda is going to go back to work this weekend and my future is now in the hands of the doctors. There isn’t much more I can do.

I need to get my head engaged in some work and luckily I have 4 or 5 projects that need my efforts.

I need this time while I still feel well to get things underway. I don’t know how el I will feel once treatment begins…

to be continued

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