Yesterday I alluded to a sweet, custom-made plastic mask that attaches to the table of the external beam machine to accurately position and immobilize my head while the beam does its thing. And, by “does its thing,” I mean swooping and sweeping around my head while shining X-rays into my brain.
The formal name for the type of radiation treatment I’m getting is Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy – IMRT. As I mentioned in a previous post, multiple beams can be combined to precisely shape the result to closely match the shape of what’s left of my tumor. My radiation oncologist painted a beautifully descriptive picture for us when he said that because my tumor type is so-called “infiltrative” he has to design “The Plan” (as it’s called) “to hit a broccoli” in my brain.
Anyway, back to that mask. Many of you dear readers have asked for photographic documentation of the mask. Well, here you go – below, I’ve included a couple of shots of me holding the mask in my hand as well some shots of the mask “in action” (as it were). Also, this time I paid attention; the attachment mechanism is a sort of snap-fit plastic thumbscrew/binding post similar to the ones we use to do foamcore and cardboard prototyping in design classes at Olin. Incredible. Enjoy.
Next time: For the truest geeks among you, stay tuned as I explore the possibility of getting my hands on the CAD model of my brain.