Feb 17, 2010 - 1:43 am
For all about to start radiation with the 'Mask', I thought to start a separate thread as it appears many threads these days are getting too 'crossed' up and lose track of the original purpose or the poster.
Micktissue is about to start so these and following posts may assist.
Make sure the mouth piece you have has a large enough hole (and clearly cut) to allow easier breathing. The Techies on hand can fix this if the hole is not adequate..
You can ask to have some parts of the mask trimmed if there is too much pressure on any point or area but it should be firm so you don't move and let the rads hit a non-target area. It shouldn't hurt though. Too much pressure around the nose and throat will cause more distress as your body tells you instinctively that your breathing is threatened.
I used a nasal spray before each session to allow easier breathing. You can breath through both nose and mouth at the same time. Learn how to switch between the two and to use both at the same time. This will be important if you start getting heavier mucus build up later.
Learning how to breath is important and also helps you relax as you can focus on something other than the big humming machine. Breath deep and steady and visualize the cancer cells being chomped up like a Pakman or .... just think of something nice.
Hack and spit as much as you can before you go in as mucus may increase as the weeks go by. As said earlier if you feel your throat blocking a little with mucus during a session, you can usually breath your nose. That why you are best to practice consciously changing between the two to avoid any panic.
Learn a pattern or relaxation and you will find it will become easier and the sessions will be over quickly.
Music really does help and I used a compilation of classic and classical non vocal music but whatever gets you through is good.
Use relaxation meds if they help and you find it necessary but as with anything, the less medication the better as your body will be dealing with enough.
In the later weeks I rinsed my mouth with a Saline mouthwash and also used a bit of Mouth Gel (Biotene) along with the Nasal Spray as part of the pre-session routine as you will start to get a dry mouth later in treatment.
Other related tips are to get an electric razor and get and use good quality 'baby' shampoo and face wash products / solutions (Not Johnson & Johnson). Your skin will become more sensitive. And I do mean stuff you use for infants
I know you will get this Mick and others about to go in and I hope the few tips above help.