As requested, here is a picture of my radiotherapy shell, and another with me wearing it, positioned and fastened down for treatment. These were taken this morning, before my second session.
Looking at the picture of the shell, the treatment area is outlined in red. Actually, it’s a little more complicated – you should be able to see a thin black line in the bottom left of the red shape; the area below that is masked off by a screen inside the machine, so it’s not treated either. Inside that area, you can see the scar from my most recent operation – healing very nicely.
The other thin black lines on the shell are for calibration, to make sure I end up in exactly the same place each time. The treatment machine emits a series of green lasers which shine across my body, and are used to line me up.
There are four fasteners; two on the side of the head and two on the shoulders. The pink shoulder pieces are quick-setting thermoplastic, which was added as a second stage in the shell making process, after it was fitted.
As you can see in the on-table photo, my neck is supported by a white neckrest, and my chin is as far back as possible, to keep mouth and teeth out of the field. They irradiate me by shining the beam vertically downwards from the front, then rotate the entire machine around me, rearrange the shielding automatically and do the same vertically upwards from the back. Even though it looks a bit odd, it’s pretty comfortable, and I’m normally only in that position for a few minutes; the actual beam time can’t be more than 20 seconds per side. The daily dose is 2 Gray.
If anyone has any other questions, please do ask. Yes, I do get to take the shell home when I’ve finished :-)