Well, that’s a relief

This morning, when I had planned to be writing up the AHCS strategic plan, I got a call from Jewish General asking if I could come in so they could adjust my mask. I was delighted to oblige. It turns out that whatever the mask is made of, you can mold it some by making it hot and then cooling it off again. So I lay down on the table, they heated it up, and then I got a hot mask pressed down onto my face. They followed this with cold towels. It might have looked a little like a cross between a spa treatment and waterboarding, but it was fine. The result was a much tighter fit, and I’m delighted to learn that they can do this again should I lose weight–and not just a beard. Though again I was treated to the spectacle of a medical professional advising me not to lose too much weight. I won’t get used to that.

The re-sizing was followed by a trip back into the testing room, where they did another simulation on me. For just a moment, as the x-ray machine passed over my face with the light turned off, I could see my reflection. There I was, strapped to the table, looking out from inside the mask, with my hair in pigtails hanging down either side of the table (Carrie insisted that I be sure to include the pigtails detail). Then the light turned on. I think it’s probably better that way, but I would definitely say that the look is a little more “executioner” and a little less “horror flick” or “lucha libre” than I had originally thought. There was much talking and adjusting, and drawing on the mask and on my body. It took quite awhile but I wasn’t uncomfortable, and the mask sure did fit nicely.

When it ended, I almost got to take a picture of the wall of masks, which is really impressive. I did confirm that the mesh ones were for head and brain patients, and there are also these mysterious white ones. I’m wearing yellow, as you know. But there is, alas, no picture: they changed their mind because of privacy concerns. I keep forgetting that it’s actually kind of weird to be having a completely public bout of cancer.

If that wasn’t enough, a saintly woman named Bridget changed my treatment schedule for me. I still have 7:45 W and Th this week, but otherwise all the times are eminently humane. After wandering around the schedule for a couple weeks, I will settle in at 12:30, which breaks up the day but is well-situated for a trip to the Hope and Cope gym beforehand and if necessary a nap afterward when the radiation fatigue sets in.

I even ran into my radiation oncologist, who doesn’t think there will be any major pain for at least a couple weeks, if not longer. I like the sound of that.

More news after I actually go through one of these tomorrow.