Radiation Fear

Suez39 Member Posts: 150 Member

I have SCC large tumor in the throat. Scheduled for rad and chemo treatments beginning of April. I'm just terribly scared of being in machine with mask getting radiation. I'm usually upbeat positive person but this whole ordeal just causing me  intense fear and anxiety. Wondering if anyone else feeling this way. Got through fitting with no meds. Took an agonizing 45 min until I could finish.  Meds not an option since I have to drive to hospital. Organizations all want call 3-4 days in advance making scheduling hard.  Kinda overwhelmed! Not being a Debbie downer cause i'm a naturally swell person! Lol Thx for listening and hope you guys out there could give me some good advice!


  • OKCnative
    OKCnative Member Posts: 326 Member
    edited March 2018 #2
    People either handle the mask

    People either handle the mask and radiation with zero issues, or they need anti-anxiety meds to get through it. I looked at it as nap time. The center I went to would play music or you could connect your smart phone and listen to a book on tape or podcast to help you relax.

    I used meditation techniques during other aspects of treatment - like to eat when the pain was so bad I was spitting up tiny pieces of throat tissue. I didn't want a PEG tube or pain meds so I used meditation to keep myself calm so I could eat.

    I know some people use the same techniques to get through the daily radiation.

    Your radiation should be on a set schedule, so it makes it easier to get people to drive you if needed. I drove myself without issue. Though occasionally I took a brief nap in the car in the parking garage afterwards because of fatigue.

    I looked at radiation as a positive thing. It was killing the cancer - a very curable cancer.

  • ProustLover
    ProustLover Member Posts: 115 Member
    Dear Suez39 - Someone on this

    Dear Suez39 - Someone on this site gave advice that helps me a lot: "Don't go there until you get there."   Today was my husband's 19th radiation out of planned 33.  He reports that daily sessions are a breeze compared to the fitting. Since you handled the fitting , there's every reason to expect uou'll be fine.  CKCnative's advice is also great...when your mind starts to dwell on anxious thoughts, try to refocus on bottom line:  radiation and chemo are very effective means to kill this cancer.   It is hard for me to watch my husband going through this, but he handles it day by day, and urges me not to dwell on issues before they occur.  One day follows another...you'll get through this and so will we.  

  • hlrowe
    hlrowe Member Posts: 80
    I had rads at Kettering

    I had rads at Kettering Hospital, Kettering OH (4/12 - 6/12) and they offered Pandora channels or you could bring a CD with your mix. I remember the time in the linac being less than 20 min. I had 35 treatments. 6/week, with twice on Thursdays when I had my chemo day. 8am and 3pm with chemo (Cisplatin) in between.

    Music really helps. I just kept my eyes closed the whole time and listened to music. The mask REALLY does keep your head pinned down.

    I drove a 50 mile round trip every day with no problems.

    You'll make it through OK and get to ring the bell! Just take it ONE day at a time, kinda like Army basic training (I'm a vet). That's how I treated it.

  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,698 Member
    count down to April.


    You are no Debbie downer; you are just having a difficult start.  As was said, you did make it  through the fitting and creation of your mask, you mentioned intense fear, but I am not positive you mean anxiety?  The treatment usually last 10 to 15 minutes (enough for 3 or 4 songs).  If you are a good candidate for treatment without anxiety meds, you are probably a good candidate for driving yourself. If you need meds then you may need to find a driver.  Only you can answer that.

    The rads are usually 5 days a week, Monday thru Friday at the same hour, every day.  That should make scheduling easier.  If you live close by, I would be happy to assist you.

    Knowing what I know, I must mention treatment side effects can be challenging and you might be better served riding shot-gun.  H&N members land all over the place when it comes to side effects.


  • johnsonbl
    johnsonbl Member Posts: 266 Member
    edited March 2018 #6
    The first was the worst...

    I found that I was pretty high strung for the first treatment...worried about moving, worried about swallowing during....  By day two it was better.  By day 3 I was bored.  My center was extremely efficient, in and out in about 10 minutes.  The techs were great...  I didn't bother with music because it just wasn't long enough to worry about them queuing something up for me.  I tended to try and look into the machine as it spun around to see the little leaves moving inside that shape the beam.

    Struggle through the first couple and I think you may find that it's really not too big a deal.  They can stop if you need help or need to move or whatever...that was reassuring to me, though I never needed to.

    Go get 'em.  You can do it!

  • Suez39
    Suez39 Member Posts: 150 Member
    Rads fear

    Thank you everyone for your feedback about radiation treatments. I will try real hard to get through it. Cause I know thier really is'nt a choice if you want to live. Civil Matt where are from? Appreciate the offer to help me with transportation. I  also appreciate everyone's responses. I guess my anxiety really getting to me. I'm very scared still but will see how I make out.

  • Darkdancer333
    Darkdancer333 Member Posts: 115 Member
    I had my first RAD today...

    I had my first RAD today... The treatment is nothing really.. Just the mask.. Make sure your are comfortable with it. When i was fitted I felt claustrophobic.. On the verge of panic.

    I told them punch the eyes out and mouth since I don't really breath much through my nose.. Lo and behold when they strapped me to the table and put the mask on it was crushing my adams apple. I told them this isnt going to work. So they sent me and the mask back to the shop.. The mask was fix ... hole in the mouth and adams apple was fine. 

    Back to rad treatment and it was a breeze.. 

    In all honesy you may be more bothered thinking about an itch that needs to be scratched... lol Just make sure its comfortable for you.. Then i think between scan and rad was a total of 10 minutes. 


    Suez they will help make you as comfortable as can be.. If you need anxiety pills take that. I couldnt take my brothers advice and smoke a doob lol because i been clean and sober since 1991


    As you have alreeady heard its the after affects that become the problem..

    Good luck and this soon will pass