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The Mask August 10, 2018

Posted by Judy in Musings.

If you saw my Facebook post, you’ll know that the radiation treatment was just horrid, but not for the reason you or I might have thought.  I dutifully took Ativan to help me be mellow for the procedure and I was mellow, not at all worried about being strapped in.  That is, until they strapped me in and I realized that the mask was TIGHT!!  Apparently, the plastic had shrunk a bit when it fully hardened and the top of the mask was pressing on my forehead in a really dramatic and forceful way.


The techs had me shift a bit, but nothing really helped, so they just got started.  I made it through the radiation for the first spot okay.  They asked if I wanted a break or if I wanted to charge right on through.  I needed a break for my poor forehead, so they took the mask off for a few minutes.  They put it back on and got started on the second spot.  This involved taking pictures, moving the bed side to side and the machine all around to make sure there was enough clearance.  By the time they got to this point, my head felt like it was going to explode.  It hurt so, so much from the extreme pressure of the mask, and the ache was starting to travel down to my eyes.  (In fact, it’s been 7 hours since the procedure and I still have a slight headache.)  I discovered that if I pushed my lower jaw into the tense position, I could shift the plastic just a smidge so that it wasn’t pressing on my forehead so much.  This worked great, until my jaw got tired, and then I just got frantic.  I knew there had been 4 blasts of radiation on the first spot, so I was counting on the same for the second.  It became an exercise in how to move my body without moving my body:  clenching my fists, squeezing my toes, trying frantically to move my head, knowing it was futile.  The music was no longer distracting me, clenching my hands wasn’t helping, and I was close to waving my arms and telling them to “Get me out of this thing!”  So for the last two blasts, I counted out loud.  I don’t know that it helped, but at least I was able to pass the time.  I was so relieved when they came in and removed the mask.  I ended up with dots on my face from the tightness.


At least it was only one session.  The doctor is very happy with how things turned out.  At this point, I have to just watch and see if I get nausea or vomiting, have mental changes, or unusual headaches.  If so, he’ll have to start me on steroids to deal with brain swelling.  The biggest side effect of the steroids is weight gain as well as a dramatic enlargement of the head, which is why he doesn’t want to give me the meds unless I show symptoms.  I’m okay with that and am praying that there are no symptoms.

The one fun thing about today is I get to keep that crazy mask.  I see a Halloween costume in the making! =)


1. Jessica Adams - August 10, 2018

You look beautiful and I am so thankful you made it through this ordeal! May God continue to keep You in His hands.

2. Jen - August 10, 2018

Oh my! That sounds just dreadful! I am so sorry. Thank goodness it’s over!

3. Kandice Dickinson - August 10, 2018

(to be sung with dripping sarcasm) “Look for the silver lining!” – – – love love love you dear-heart!!! xoxox Kandice

4. Mary Slayton - August 10, 2018

Perla, the only bright side I can see is that this part is over! However, I can’t help but think of how many will benefit from what these people are able to learn from patients like yourself as you go through all this misery. If I had known how the Lord was going to use you to be an encouragement to others as they suffer with this hated disease I would have loved your dear little self even more than I did. How little we know as we look at the friends around us and around our children. May God give you many, many blessings my dear and your hubby and family also. Love you.

5. rlape85 - August 12, 2018

Ouch!!!! 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 You don’t get any side effects. Love you.

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