So, yesterday was the second of three stereotactic radiotherapy treatments on my spinal tumour – with the hope that it blasts it to pieces, before chemotherapy mops up the pieces.
involving, being, utilizing, or used in a surgical technique for precisely directing the tip of a delicate instrument (such as a needle) or beam of radiation in three planes using coordinates provided by medical imaging in order to reach a specific locus in the body Merriam-Webster
Lots of things have been explained to me whilst preparing for the treatment – but the upshot of it is that it’s very precise and I need to lie SUPER-STILL so they can target the small area VERY PRECISELY.
I therefore have to wear this mask, which was shaped whilst I underwent a CT scan, then had to wear it for an MRI scan, for 2+ hours last Friday, another 45+ minutes on Monday … so I asked them to take a photo..
… and no, it’s not very comfortable – though the team make it as good as they can with bits of gauze, etc. – because they need me to hold that position for a long time:
If I had a brain tumour then more of my face would be covered, but as the point of the mask is to hold me still, and not to target a brain tumour, then quite a bit was pulled back to leave my nose/mouth free (not that I can move my bottom jaw, so I can’t speak). I can see a bit through the holes over my eyes – watching the machine rotate around me.
Yesterday’s appointment was over in around 35 minutes from heading in, to heading out, according to Andrew who gave me a lift! I’m struggling a lot with nausea and a bit of a whooshy head, plus I need to keep very calm, so having someone with me beforehand helps with that… here’s hoping this is all short term, and gives me some more years without needing radiotherapy again (preferably more than less than a year I had since last time)…
One more to go tomorrow! Then more chemotherapy starts 15th April (4 cycles of docetaxol + other drugs over 12 weeks + ongoing drugs every 3 weeks after that)… before looking at an oompherectomy.
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.