The simulation appointment is for Friday, Sept 10, at 9am at the Beth Israel building at Union Square. The radiology oncology department is in the basement (the pattern — all radiation done in basements).
The department and waiting room is nice, much nicer than the hospital. The appointment is on time, wow. I’m taken in a room by a nice therapist and she sets up a mini dvd for me to watch so that I know what to expect. They called me the evening prior and told me that this would be contrast and not to eat anything prior — ok, no problem.
So after the interesting little dvd, I’m lead into (one of the ) CAT scan rooms where I’ll be fitted for a mask. It’s super important that everything is lined up precisely if cells are going to be fried. And this mask is what will hold my head in place for the duration of the radiation therapy.
Nothing is painful, although it is definitely work lying still with a popsicle-type device between your teeth and your head pinned down tight and told to lay still for 30 minutes. The one challenge was swallowing accumulated saliva with your mouth open and a thick piece of hard foam between your teeth.
A nurse come in, makes an IV in my forearm and the contrast is started so that Dr. Hu can make the set up as precise as possible. I ask Dr. Hu if he will be that afterwards as I had a few questions. He said it was his day off and yes, he would be there for a while.
After the fitting and CAT scan, they make some freckle-type tattoo marks at various points on the face and neck to make sure the helmut-type mask is fitted in the exact position each time you get doused with radiation.
After the tattoos, I asked to see Dr. Hu and was told he left. So much for my questions. He is off next week so I can’t blame him for wanting to get out of there. After all, he is trying to “fit me in” and get this done prior to his planned vacation. (although I don’t know how anyone plans to have neck cancer).
Walking away from the simulation with the radiation schedule. Begins on October 1, which seems like a long way off — practice run with an X-ray and last minute adjustments. First full week begins on October 4th, which means I should be all done by Thanksgiving with the intensive stuff (not that on Thanksgiving I’ll be able to swallow or taste anything). Oh, and wasn’t lucky enough to draw my preferred location for the radiation, Union Square. Instead, I’ve got to go across town to the hospital on 1st Ave. Not complaining (too much) because the time is good, 845 am every day.