Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Radiation Therapy

When I was 15 I had a bad case of mono caught from dirty dishes in a drugstore where all the kids hung out. I spent 2 weeks in the hospital with a very high fever. And had a huge fever blister on my right lower lip from it. My doctor treated it with boric acid. He said it was either that or surgery which would be very noticeable for the rest of my life. My father begged him not to use the treatment as he was afraid of what might happen later in my life. Through the years I would have blisters in this area and then one day it didn't go away. After staying dormant about 50 years suddenly it started growing. I kept putting off having a biopsy made until it finally reached a point I no longer felt comfortable around people so I went for a biopsy. It was diagnosed as a basal cell cancer and I had two options. Either have very disfiguring surgery or radiation which would be less disfiguring or have radiation to shrink it. I chose the radiation.

I was fortunate to get the same doctor that had done radiation on Aubrey for his brain cancer about 15 years ago so I do feel comfortable with him in charge.

Daily I go for a treatment which only lasts a few minutes but is scary. The first day I was put on a table flat on my back and they put a warm mask on my whole face and shaped it to my exact face and took X-rays and marked the part that wold be treated. I am not going to deny being scared out of my wits with this. The next step was to the radiation room where I was again placed flat of my back on a table with the huge machine similar to the one that is shown in the photo at the top. The mask was placed back on my face. I can see through the mesh and can breathe and talk to them. Then they went out of the room and I was in there alone with this huge machine. It is controlled by a computer outside the room where they can watch me and hit the precise spots that are marked on the mask.

It is a terrible feeling to have your face in a mask and that mask attached to the table where you cannot move. Although the treatment each day only lasts for about 20 seconds and the whole time you are in the room is about 2 minutes it is still scary. The first couple of times when they got me up, I was very dizzy but the dizziness seems to have passed but I am still very uneasy. I will have to have about 25 more days of this. I go 5 days a week so expect to end the treatment in about 5 more weeks. It is totally painless and I am not restricted in any way in the things I can do.

If you suspect cancer, please don't wait. Go for a check-up. I surely wish I had listened to my doctor when he kept telling me to have a biopsy made. It is healing but all this could have been avoided had I not been so afraid to hear the word cancer.

1 comment:

  1. Ann, Margaret here!
    You are a brave woman and I admire you greatly. I cannot imagine how you feel. The only thing I can compare it to is when I had an MRI guided Breast biopsy. The differences are that I was on my stomach for about 45 minutes and I have back problems and cannot lay on my stomach. I took a Lortab before I went in which helped a little. The second thing was when the local wore off it was the worse pain I can remember having. I did make it through, but I too was scared. It is just another event in life that you must get past, then it will be behind you. Remember we all love you and are there with you in spirit. I wish I could be there to hold your hand as I was for mom during each of her tests over the past 3 years. You are loved and we are with you!!!!!