Last day of radiation!


So ends another chapter in the great nose cancer saga of 2010 – and I think the story is nearing its end.

Every day for the last two weeks I’ve been trudging out to Sutton to hospital (Brits are legally required to omit “the” before hospital).  The actual zapping part of the event only takes two or three minutes, plus a few to get set up.  When I first went to have this mould made of my face, so that they could make the lead mask to protect the rest of my face from the radiation, I was worried, because I had to wait almost two hours to be seen.  Since then, though, they’ve been really swift – I’ve never waited more than a couple of minutes (apologies to the old real cancer people who seem to be waiting while I’m taken straight through – although I think, or at least hope, that they’re waiting for other things).

The mould, used to make the lead mask (I couldn't keep the lead mask though - apparently it is valuable enough that they melt it down and reuse the lead.

So, for each session, I had to lay down flat on my back, and they would put the lead mask over my face, then pack my head in with some sort of forced-air pillow.  Then (and with the wool lead over my eyes, I am only going on sound and what they told me!) they moved and lowered the machine into place, bringing it to rest right over the hole in the mask, lightly touching it.  The machine has a sort of funnel on the end that channels the radiation – it reminds me of a vacuum in that they can attach pieces of varying sizes to the end!

What are the effects?  Well, as you can see below, mostly just a red circle around the area.  What has really “heated” up in the last couple of days, though – and acting in “perfect storm” synchronization with my cold and the freezing cold weather here – is the dryness and soreness inside my nose.  Because of the location on my nose, they couldn’t use nostril shields inside my nose (they wouldn’t go up far enough to do any good, basically), so now I’m dealing with a very sore, very dry and occasionally bleeding nose.  But, that should only last for a few days now that I’ve stopped having it zapped on a daily basis.

Can you tell where the hole in the lead mask was?

Anyway, I think that’s probably more than you ever wanted or needed to know about radiation therapy to one’s nose.  Hopefully the bad stuff is gone, and that ends the story.  I’m going to a follow up with the oncologist in a few weeks to get a read on the final verdict.

Happy Holidays – and no Rudolph jokes please!

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Posted on 23/12/2010, in Logistics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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