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Brain Radiosurgery Prep

by Maggie Jones

The day before radiosurgery I went in to image the brain tumors and make a mask that would hold my head still during the procedure.

Like the PET-CT scan, it started with inserting a catheter in my vein and prepping for the contrast. Even though I barely experienced any reaction to the contrast last time (some very light itching and three small hives that went away on their own after 30 minutes) they treat allergies very seriously and I needed to have a steroid shot first.

Then it was into the imaging room. The medical team had me lie on the CT scan table and adjusted an attached frame to minimize movement of my head.  This is the hardest part for me.  With the fluid in my pleura I’ve been having a very hard time laying flat without coughing. The codeine I’m on helps a lot but it’s still a challenge.  Groaning loudly can suppress the cough so I did that a lot.

My face was then covered in a warm, moist mesh.  We made a few more adjustments to my head positioning and then my job was to hold still while the team disagreed about the depth of my breathing.

“OK, open your mouth slightly and take a deep breath.” – woman’s voice

“Cough cough groan” – me

“Shallow breaths are fine. Just shallow breaths.” – man’s voice

Anyway, after a few minutes we started the scan. Then injected the contrast and scanned some more. 30 minutes of waiting to make sure I didn’t have a reaction to the contrast and I was released to pay my bill.

My pee will remain radioactive from the contrast for 2 days – so cool! But doesn’t glow in the dark – oh well.

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