Got through the claustrophobia of the mask

My husband is terribly claustrophobic and, even with 2 1/2 Atavan in him, was unable to allow the techs to clip the mask in place the afternoon of the "dry run".  We spent the week-end worried that he'd do the same thing on Monday and keep postponing the radiation treatment.  If he didn't start radiation, the chemo doctor wouldn't start the chemo!!!!  Thanks to this forum I discovered that a lot of you had the techs cut out holes for the eyes, the nose and the mouth and this helped you through.  I called the radiology center and left a message that we'd like the holes cut since other people had it done.  I also asked if they could cut a hole where his adam's apple was since the throat part of the mask was so tight there too.  Surprise, surprise, we got a call back on Monday morning that they were going to do all that.  Yay!!

Next we called the chemo dr. and told him about the Atavan not doing anything for his anxiety.  He checked my husband's history, found that my husband had been a pretty heavy drinker, and told me that his body was responding to the Atavan the same way it had been responding to alchohol.   It was "comfortable" with the Atavan in other words.  He then suggested 1mg of Zanax early in the day and another 1 mg. of Zanax about an hour before the session.   My hubby got through it with flying colors!!!  He now brings his iphone and little speakers with him to the session and only needs the 1 mg of Zanex about an hr beforehand.


We're now a week into it.  Unfortunately we took too many nausea pills during day 3 of the chemo because we didn't read the directions as carefully as we should have and he had extreme constipation, but we worked through that and will be more careful.  Now we've decided to take them up on coming into the clinic for hydration every other day instead of trying to do it all on our own.  What's another hour out of our day if it will make this whole process easier.  We know when the radiation really kicks in it will be another story, but one day at a time.


Guess the moral of the story is DON"T SETTLE.  These people WANT YOU TO SUCCEED AND GET THROUGH THIS.   Ask questions.  Keep experimenting and use all of the info you find on sites like this to get well.








  • debbiejeanne
    debbiejeanne Member Posts: 3,102 Member
    wow, so glad you learned here

    wow, so glad you learned here that they could cut parts out of the mask and that it made it easier for your hubby.  they will do whatever they can to help us get thru tx.  you've got a week down already.  won't be long and it will all be in his rearview mirror.  so glad it all worked out.

    God bless you,


  • wmc
    wmc Member Posts: 1,804
    Welcome to the H&N Group

    As always sorry you need to be here, but it is the best one you will find. Very glad your husband was able to get through it, and you found answers on this site. It's open 24/7 and there is so many carring and knowledgeable people to answers questions. We are all differant outher than we all are H&NC. There is so many variables age, size other health problems, that the doctor's develope a plan just for him. Remember to just ask the doctors questions and if you didn't understand let them know and they will explain it better. Everyone wants their patient to beat this and be one of the many suvivors.

    Welcome, and keep letting us all know how you BOTH are doing. It is hard on the loved ones and caregivers. They worry about us and how we feel and are we in pain, what are we thinking, are we going to be ok, I need to be there all day to confort him.......You need to get some time out and take care of yourself. You are no good to him if you are rundown. Get your rest as well. [yes it easier said than done] but try.

    Our prayers to both of you....


  • Jeff2159
    Jeff2159 Member Posts: 108

    is your friend especially during chemo time. I'd get it if you can every day of chemo rather than every other day. My 5-fu chemo was tues-sat and I get hydration wed-sun. they are tying to adjust my dosage and that has helped the mouth sores and nausea but I still feel nauseated so I don't eat or drink for those 4-5 days