Torture device for the claustrophobic.
Radiation started at 6:30am. When I arrive the mask is waiting for me. A few weeks ago they created a plastic cast of my head, shoulders, and upper chest. Laying on my back, the hardened mesh is laid in place and fastened to the table, locking me into place. No moving. No talking. I can’t open my mouth.
“Thumbs up if you’re ok.”
Through mesh and barely open eyelids a grid of green lasers appears, aligning equipment to cast to body to tumor. Science fiction meets real life.
I’m alone. The technicians have retreated to the room next door. A few short x-ray sounds, as machinery hovers above and around me. A tech returns, making mechanical adjustments, then disappears. Longer x-ray sounds now, first on my left, above me, on my right. Am I breathing too hard? Is it hitting the right spot?
For as much as we are Team Tyler, I have started to realize in the last several weeks how we are part of a much larger team. As we meet and chat with fellow patients and families in the Blood and Marrow Transplant ward, it becomes evident that our stories often intersect, and we are all rooted in the same fight. I have learned that what we do know, we share, and it is often tremendous help in our personal battles. I have also learned, that as a unified Team against cancer, we really do not know that much. Even small strides in cancer therapy research are giant improvements in our understanding of this disease and treatment. That being said, several people have asked how they can help with Team Tyler, such as donations for our bracelets. I would like to extend an opportunity for us to help with a bigger picture, the war on cancer.