Michael and Me – my radiotherapy mask

Yesterday I had my hair done in the salon. A much nicer activity than the same day a year ago, when I was having this mask made for my forthcoming radiotherapy.

Mirror image

It was a long day. The mask-moulding took 30 minutes, as the plastic hardened to my face, creating a mask that fitted me perfectly and would hold me in place for each of my 30 radiotherapy sessions. The rest of the day was spent going through side effects and signing consent forms before treatment began.

Every day of radiotherapy, Michael, as I liked to call him, was waiting for me.
Once my cami top straps were down and I was on the radiotherapy bed, the radiographers asked if I was ready. Then Michael was placed on to my face and clicked into place – that’s what the black clips you can see were for.

I learned to meditate out of the room for the seven long minutes I was on the bed – every day, for six weeks. As the treatment continued, the side effects became worse. The cumulative effects became more apparent.
At the end of the treatment I chose to bring Michael home, as a reminder of what I went through and why. đź’– It saved my life.

Post Cancer Treatment Document

After my cancer treatment ended last summer, I felt lost. I was still struggling with horrendous side effects and cumulative radiotherapy effects for a month or so. But I was also struggling mentally, even with my own regular private therapy sessions.

Moving from the bubble that is cancer treatment, and all it entails, back into the ’real’ world was so difficult. But the head and neck cancer team at the Western General were amazing and at an invaluable ’wellbeing’ appointment at the Maggie’s Centre, I was given this document.

It helped me SO much. After mentioning it on Twitter, a lot of people asked for it, so I hope that by sharing it here, people can download it.

One thing I learned more than anything following my cancer treatment was to ask for help and understanding from everyone around you. People will think ’everything is fine’, so just explain to them it’s not.