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TIPS AND ADVICE FOR NOT FREAKING OUT WITH THE MASK

luv4lacrosse's picture
luv4lacrosse
Posts: 1369
Joined: Jul 2010

Hello all, I had my first Rad treatment this morning. about the same time they finished my scan they pulled me out and I said I felt like I was hyperventilating. I finally calmed down and slowed down my breathing. Where the front of the mask comes down, it feels like it keeps my accessory muscles around my collar bone from assisitng with breathing air into my lungs. I have to force my self to yawn to get a lung full of air.

Any suggestions for the remaining 29 treatments.

D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1518
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm wondering how you managed a yawn, inside the mask. I had the same sensation of pressure around my neck, and had to convince myself that it was NOT interfering with my breathing. I found that if I stayed absolutely still, there was less of a feeling of the mask being what was causing the problem. Then, I just went far far away in my mind. Also, I did concentrate on breathing slowly.

Good luck. It does get easier with practice. I had the technicians play native american flute music while I was in there, as I found that to be calming.

Deb

luv4lacrosse's picture
luv4lacrosse
Posts: 1369
Joined: Jul 2010

I PULLED MY LIPS OVER MY TEETH TO GET MY MOUTH OPEN A LITTLE BIT. THEN WHEN THE TIME WAS RIGHT, A COUPLE OF WELL PLACED YAWNS WAS ENOUGH TO GET SOME AIR INTO MY LUNGS.

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi LFL,

Make sure the nose and throat don't feel pressured and also your mouth piece (if you have one) has a good big clear hole with no restriction. As long as your head doesn't move, you are OK. Pressure around the nose and throat can make you feel a bit claustrophobic. you can get the techies to cut the holes if you need.

You also need to have a routine to relax, deep breathing, music, focus on something. I would sometime imagine the rads were like a 'Pacman' munching along eating up the Cancer cells. I sued a nasal spray before I went to allow easier breathing and would cough and hack any muck in my throat before I hit the table. Hope these couple of points help.

Scam

D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1518
Joined: Jan 2010

The techies did cut eye holes for me. I had one claustrophobic day when I asked for a mouth hole as well, so I could hack and cough, and they told me no, as they needed the dots on the mask's surface near my mouth, to align the machine. So, I did mind exercises that day, and it helped enough.

Deb

luv4lacrosse's picture
luv4lacrosse
Posts: 1369
Joined: Jul 2010

i ASKED THEM ABOUT THIS WHEN IT FIT TOO TIGHT. i HAVE GAINED SOME WEIGHT BETWEEN WHEN THE MASK WAS MADE AND TODAY WHEN IT WAS PUT ON. THEY WERE ABLE TO PLACE SOME PLASTIC PIECES UNDER ME SO WHEN THE CLIPPED IT DOWN IT WAS NOT AS TIGHT.

IS IT NORMAL TO FIT SO TIGHT THAT IT LITERALLY CLOSES YOUR EYES AND PUSHES YOUR NOSE FLAT AND PRESSES YOUR LIPS TOGETHER. FOR ME TO EVEN OPEN MY MOUTH I HAVE TOPULL MY LIPS IN AND OVER MY TEETH TO GET JUST A LITTLE AIR FLOW INTO AND OUT OF MY MOUTH.
I WILL ASK AGAIN ABOUT THE MOUTH AND NOSE BEING CUT A LITTLE.

WERE YOU EVER AT THE POINT WITH THE MASK AND ALL OF THE MUCOUS WHILE YOU WERE LYING DOWN FLAT? WHAT WERE YOU ABLE TO DO ABOUT IT?

BEST!!

MIKE

D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1518
Joined: Jan 2010

I took a dose of benadryl one half hour before my treatment time. It seemed to dry me right up. Also, I always carried a glass of ice water, and just before they bolted me down, I took a big slug of that, gargled it around and spit. Then I'd leave the water glass on their desktop. They hated it.

Near the end of the treatment, I got a little nervous about hacking, and/or gagging and or sicking up while I was bolted down. It never happened. I did mention it to the radiation techies and they swore that all I would have to do would be to throw up my hands and they'd be in, in an instant, to pop me loose.

I told them I had contact lenses, and they would not be allowed to mash my eyes shut. That's when they cut the eye holes. My nose ALWAYS got mashed flat. I always had snakeskin diamonds on my skin when they took off the mask. I had been forewarned about the possible need to breathe through my mouth, so when they made the mask, I had my tongue stuck between my teeth, to leave my jaw open enough so I could mouth-breathe. Actually, I did make a point to pull my lips back before they snapped the bolts down.

Practice, practice

Deb

D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1518
Joined: Jan 2010

I also learned a little trick when they were just at the point of snapping the mask down. I would tip my head back a little, let them lower the mask, and then tip my head forward a bit. What it did was to have my nose mashed a bit upward, rather than downward, so it seemed like my nostrils were propped open rather than mashed shut. Play with it a bit. See if you can improve the positioning of your nose. It helped me.

Deb

luv4lacrosse's picture
luv4lacrosse
Posts: 1369
Joined: Jul 2010

Thanks for the tips Deb. I took 1MG of Atavan 40 min. before I started. I continued to think to my self, long slow breaths and just kept my eyes closed. That worked great. no problem at all. That really made my day.

My next fear will be if I get the Thick Mucous.

Mike

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8052
Joined: Sep 2009

On mine, they had to make another right off to bat because I lost weight in between the nine weeks of chemo before the rads.

They would shoot an X-Ray every Monday with the mask on, measuring it precisely. If it didn't line up right, they'll need to make a new one.

Mine fit so tight I'd have a waffle face and forehead. So, yes, it fits tight....

I also can't breathe well out of my nose, so I had to try and keep my mouth open slightly to get enough air. One thing that does help. LOL, once you start losing a little weight, it'll get a little loose...but too loose and you get a new one.

John

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

L4L,

I suggest you practice breathing through your nose, switch to your mouth, switch to both at the same time In & OUT etc learn how to consciously switch between mouth nose etc. If you get clogged up while in a session you can calmly change your breathing pattern to your nose. Your nose should definitely NOT be blocked by the mask.

Scam

fisrpotpe's picture
fisrpotpe
Posts: 1317
Joined: Aug 2010

I agree with Scam, practice at home with breathing thru nose. This was big for me.

It will also be good to learn to sleep with mouth closed and breath thru nose as for years to come your mouth with be dryer and by keeping mouth shut it will keep your mouth from drying out quicker and keep more moist.

Alot of great idea's are posted from so many others.

luv4lacrosse's picture
luv4lacrosse
Posts: 1369
Joined: Jul 2010

Thanks guys. That make 100% sense. I will start doing that.

Mike

Fire34
Posts: 350
Joined: Feb 2010

Mike
Mine was just like yours, way tooooo tight when it was first placed on me from the time I was fitted. They shimmed mine up approx 5mm. Yes my eyes closed but that is the reaction from your eyelids. I was able to breath thru my nose that made things easier for me. My second mask during my third week seemd the same but was used to it by then. I did not have any mucous problems until the middle of my fourth week and into my fifth week, I was given robitussin that helped a little.
I had the techs put on some nice music and went off to dreamland for the 15-20 minutes I was on the table.
Best Wishes & Prayers
Dave

Noellesmom
Posts: 1270
Joined: Aug 2010

Like many others, Jim had an issue with mucous when lying down for the mask to be put into place. It is routine at the Cancer Care Center for patients to be prescribed Mucinex to help with this. After being on Mucinex for 24 hours, no more issues withe mucous.

It was definitely the right thing for Jim.

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8052
Joined: Sep 2009

Xanax worked for me, but I was having anxiety problems. But after a week I was good to go and didn't need anything.

I also brought a CD and they'd lower the lights and play the CD. That helped a lot because I would figure, OK, about four songs and I'd be done for the day...

By the end of your 35 days, you'll know every position, click and whirl of that machine. You'll know exactly when it is about to shut-off, ahhhh another one down.

Best,
John

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

I also found a position to hold my mouth in- like an overbite with my top teeth in front of the bottom, and breathing thru the teeth/mouth, mostly. Last of my problems with the rads was when I combined the forementioned. I'd advise to experiment to see what works for you- you have to run the course of rads.

kcass

zinniemay's picture
zinniemay
Posts: 534
Joined: Mar 2009

My husband took C.D.s with him of music he liked. The did cut holes in his mask but he said he found a happy place and listen to his music, after a few times he said he would nap thru it.

luv4lacrosse's picture
luv4lacrosse
Posts: 1369
Joined: Jul 2010

SKIFF, GREAT ADVICE TO COUNT THE ROTATIONS OF THE MACHINE TO GET A GRASP ON HOW CLOSE YOU ARE TO BEING FINISHED. I PUT YOUR ADVICE IN MOTION TODAY. MY SESSION WAS 29-30 ROTATIONS OF THE MACHINE. ONCE I HIT 25 I KNEW I WAS CLOSE TO BEING FINISHED.

YOU HELPED ME ALLOT

BEST!!

MIKE

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8052
Joined: Sep 2009

Glad to have suggested something that helped you...that's what we're all about here. Sharing information, experiences, knowledges and paying it forward.....

Best to you as well,
John

greg from pa
Posts: 86
Joined: Jun 2010

I was always claustrophobic so the mask brought about some anxiety.they gave me xanax and that seemed to help. I also have a large adams apple and they trimmed the mask there a little. With time it became easier and botered me less and less.I too knew every whir and click of that machine by the time I was done. good luck and hang in there it will be over before you know it! Greg

CajunEagle
Posts: 352
Joined: Oct 2009

My only complaint to the Techs was that the mask put alot of pressure on my upper chest, just below my throat. I told them that they were mashing my Medi-Port (which I'm not sure it was) and that sure made a difference by them shimming the mask up from the base. I could then almost stand the procedure.

Larry

ToBeGolden's picture
ToBeGolden
Posts: 697
Joined: Aug 2010

For balance, I want to post that I had virtually no problem with the mask. I don't want to make light of the experiences of those who had significant difficulty. But for those patients who have not been bolted yet, I think they should know that although many have difficulty, there are at least some patients that do not have problems. (I hope I am not the only one who did not have a problem.) Rick

don62
Posts: 25
Joined: Sep 2010

The mask is no fun and i too thought i couldnt breathe, but you can trust me just close your eyes and dont fight it. I have 12 left to go, it doesent get easier but it does become bearable. Remebering why your going through this helps too. Everytime i look at my kids makes this worth while.
good luck
Don

Kaylee-parotid's picture
Kaylee-parotid
Posts: 16
Joined: Feb 2010

Hi Rick. I'm another lucky one who didn't have any problems with the mask. They cut the nose for me because I was a bit stressed before my first treatment, but after that there were no hassles. I agree that it's good to let newbies know that it's not necessarily all bad.

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