Back already from my first radiation treatment for my prostate cancer

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    Sep 29, 2011 12:16 PM GMT
    It went very smoothly, and an amazing experience to me. My daily time is 7 AM, and I was already the fourth treatment today! Some poor people have to arrive at 6.

    For the curious here, I lay on a table that the machine rotates around,. But it's mostly open, not a tube or a ring, so I can see the whole big room. In fact, there's a large flat-screen TV mounted to the ceiling to keep the patient occupied, playing music videos. The slowly rotating machine comes no closer to me than about 20 inches.

    So I simply walk into the office and proceed through to the treatment area, no waiting to be called. I put the contents of my pockets into a small basket, which I then carry into the treatment room. I drop my pants & shorts to my thighs, no hospital gown required, and get onto the table.

    I settle into a half-mold that was made for me last week, sort of like the impression your body makes in one of those Tempur-Pedic foam bed mattresses, that helps to position me precisely. Then the technicians further align me to the machine, using the 3 registration marks that were also tattooed onto me last week.

    They leave the room, and the machine starts slowly rotating around me for about 10 minutes, while I watch the TV. My hands are holding onto a large rubber ring on my chest, which keeps them still and away from the treatment area, and because the table is very narrow with no place to rest my arms.

    Then the technicians return, draw back the machine, I get off the table and hike my pants back up, retrieve my pocket items, and depart. I was out of there by about 7:25, back home by 8:00. No pain, no sensations of any kind, no more than an x-ray. This will be easy, except for the effort of waking up at 5:45 every morning for the next 6 weeks and driving there.

    So thought you might be interested in this procedure, especially if you or anyone you know has the misfortune to get prostate or some other forms of cancer that are treated this way. And I just found the whole thing amazing. icon_biggrin.gif

    Here's some images of the equipment. The largest pic, bottom center, is the radiation machine used on me this morning. Upper left is a "ring" I went through last week, that did a 3-D mapping of my prostate, that in turn provided the software instructions for the treatment machine. Simply astonishing what medical science has today.

    http://www.1stlineoncology.com/practice_technology.php

    The whole place itself is rather impressive, too. Original artwork everywhere, even in the treatment areas, where there are sculptures not visible in these pics. You're not sure if you're in a clinic or a museum.

    http://www.1stlineoncology.com/practice.php
  • masculumpedes

    Posts: 5549

    Sep 29, 2011 1:41 PM GMT
    Thanks for sharing and please keep us updated on your progress. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 29, 2011 1:44 PM GMT
    malefeet saidThanks for sharing and please keep us updated on your progress. icon_biggrin.gif


    Ditto.
    Good luck!
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    Sep 29, 2011 3:48 PM GMT
    Good to hear you are back!
    I think if you have a touch of cancer and require radiation, you should at least get superpowers out of it, like Peter Parker & his little radioactive spider. I mean, you should get something good for having to put up with cancer!!
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    Sep 29, 2011 4:14 PM GMT
    Thanks for the update, and we're hoping for the best outcome possible for you.

    BTW, do you get to take the molded bed thing home? Sounds comfy. icon_smile.gif
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Sep 29, 2011 4:24 PM GMT
    Have you had any side effects yet from the radiation -- nausea, lack of energy, loss of appetite, loss of hair, etc? I hope your side effects are minimal or nonexistent. I hear they can very from patient to patient. Good luck with the treatment and I hope you are diagnosed as "cancer free" before you know it.
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    Sep 29, 2011 4:26 PM GMT
    Ultraviolet13 saidGood to hear you are back!
    I think if you have a touch of cancer and require radiation, you should at least get superpowers out of it, like Peter Parker & his little radioactive spider. I mean, you should get something good for having to put up with cancer!!

    LOL!!!! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 29, 2011 4:52 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidHave you had any side effects yet from the radiation -- nausea, lack of energy, loss of appetite, loss of hair, etc? I hope your side effects are minimal or nonexistent. I hear they can very from patient to patient. Good luck with the treatment and I hope you are diagnosed as "cancer free" before you know it.

    Thank you! A lovely thing to say, added to other kind comments above.

    Well, I asked your question today. They said after about 2 to 3 weeks of these daily radiation treatments I might have some changes in my urinary habits, like needing to go more often. My partner told me he had pain peeing, when he got radiation for his prostate cancer from this same doctor, 7 years ago, and I was told today I can also expect that.

    I shouldn't have any hair loss, this doesn't involve chemotherapy. It's a 3-tier approach. First they give me injections to suppress my male hormones (that started 6 weeks ago), and that causes loss of libido & energy, the shots continuing for about a year. The second step is these 6 weeks of radiation treatments, which may further fatigue me, something I'll feel in 2 to 3 weeks, they tell me.

    I scheduled the radiation treatments to end before the SMART Ride to Key West. The doctors tell me I'll be too weak to pedal 165 miles (they virtually forbid me), but I'm gonna try anyway. If I really am that weak my fall-back is to do crew. I will participate, no matter what, alongside my partner, a Ride co-founder.

    The third step is radioactive seed impacts into my prostate. They're active for about 3 months, but never come out, in place forever. That'll be done as soon as we return from Key West, after the Ride. I planned this all around the Ride, my partner's passion, told the doctor it had to be done this way, and I won't let him down, nor interfere with him.

    My partner also had prostate cancer, and was succesfully treated by this very same doctor. Using methods that have now been superseded by better technologies that didn't exist 7 years years (see my links in the OP).

    I'm really so very fortunate. My late Father died of this same thing in 1997, hence my initial fear, and even panic. But I've got a partner who survived it, with the same doctor. I'm doing great, and I thank you again for your good thoughts, and of others here. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 29, 2011 5:01 PM GMT
    Best wishes on a speedy recovery!
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Sep 29, 2011 5:03 PM GMT
    My father passed away in 2004 from prostate cancer that spread to the bone. He had battled it for 10 years. My father was a retired Colonel in the Air Force, so he had really good medical treatment available to him, but they didn't have the advanced techniques back in the early 90's like you have access to today, so I am sure your prognosis for recovery is significantly better.
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    Sep 29, 2011 5:03 PM GMT
    Does radiation give you side effects like chemotherapy does? Any at all after each treatment?
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    Sep 29, 2011 5:30 PM GMT
    _freestyle saidDoes radiation give you side effects like chemotherapy does? Any at all after each treatment?

    My first treatment today had no after effects. As I wrote above, it was like have an x-ray taken -- nothing at all.

    I'm not supposed to lose my hair, this isn't chemotherapy, used for other cancers. They told me today I may begin to feel some fatigue at about 2 or 3 weeks of these daily treatments, and also some pain when peeing. My partner did, too, when he also had radiation for prostate cancer (and is totally cancer free, 7 years later with the same doctor).

    I already feel fatigue from the male hormone-suppresant shots I've been given for the previous 6 weeks. Also get hot flashes like menopausal women get, and they do disrupt my sleep.

    I wake up totally drenched in sweat, burning up. That happens during the day, too, the beads of perspiration literally dripping off my nose. Then a few minutes later I'm shivering cold, from the wetness. In bed I cover myself up again, only to wake up again a half hour later in sweats, kicking off those same covers. I'm not sleeping very well.

    I used to have sex (jerking off or otherwise) a few times a day. Now I skip a few days, a result I was also told about. At least I can still get hard and cum, but I was advised that may cease, too. icon_sad.gif
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    Sep 29, 2011 5:47 PM GMT
    Art Deco,

    Thank you for sharing this detailed narrative. It is really kind of you to post what must feel like a very private struggle. My Dad had these treatments done some years ago but didn't share many of the details, so I truly appreciate the inside look.

    I hope your condition improves.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Sep 29, 2011 5:52 PM GMT
    Thanks for the glimpse at the incredible things that doctors can do. It looks more like sci fi every day.

    The treatment is sure to be wearing, but knowledge helps and you will make it through wihth a good attitude. Remember the little engine that could.

    Remember also that you have a cheering section out here on the interwebs. We're all here.
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    Sep 29, 2011 6:04 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidThe prostate is only about two inches from the anus so basically the radiation gets everywhere within those regions.

    And the prostate adjoins the rectum, how doctors can go up there to do a DRE (digital rectal exam) to feel it for abnormalities.

    The radiation I'm getting is cutting-edge, one of the most advanced there is. See the links in my OP.

    First they did a 3-D mapping of my prostate. Then they programmed their machine both for direction & distance. The goal is to target only the cancer in the prostate, and not the healthy, uninvolved tissue around it.

    Hence this alignment issue is so important. Why a mold of my body was made, into which I rest, and why I was tattooed, for registration marks for the machine.

    The doctor I have is a leader in this field, and developed some of these techniques himself. That's why I didn't go to the VA (US Veterans Administration) to have this done. They are at least 10 years behind the times. I research, and I find the best. VA-free is not the best.

    Because even if they are free for me (and there's nothing military for this within hundreds of miles of me), poor results are a death sentence. So I'll have to accept the Medicare co-pay, likely in the six figures, because my pre-existing conditions make applying for a supplemental program like my partner has impossible.

    I'm totally screwed, and if I wanna live, I gotta bankrupt us. The so-called Obamacare doesn't take place for me for a long time. I served my country for 25 years in uniform, but I'm SOL (shit outta luck), for the treatment I need right now to live. Neither the VA nor the military have anything to offer me.

    As the Republican audience at a recent GOP debate cheered & applauded, let them die. I guess my service means nothing to them.
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    Sep 29, 2011 6:33 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidMy father passed away in 2004 from prostate cancer that spread to the bone. He had battled it for 10 years. My father was a retired Colonel in the Air Force, so he had really good medical treatment available to him, but they didn't have the advanced techniques back in the early 90's like you have access to today, so I am sure your prognosis for recovery is significantly better.

    You make me remember & cry. My Father had prostate cancer, and like the stubborn old mule he was (like father, like son?), he refused to do anything about it. It metastasized into his bones, like your Dad, and my sister & I (his only children) were privately told he was terminal. The docs thought he wouldn't want to know, and we agreed.

    I flew down here to Florida to spend the last 6 weeks of his life with him. A tough time for me, he started having heart attacks, and I had to revive him 4 times. Do you have any idea what it is to see your own father dying right in front of you, and having to resuscitate him?

    He was so kind to me. His heart attacks were "slow" and never losing consciousness. And so he heard me on the telephone, calling 911. And afterwards, when he retuned from the hospital, he said to me:

    "Bob, you were so professional calling 911. You were so calm, and knew exactly what to say, not panicky at all."

    "Well, Dad, I was an Army Colonel, after all. They do teach us how to react in a crisis."

    And a moment later I left his bedroom, and just cried my eyes out. I think it was the first and only time my Father had ever given me a compliment, in all my 47 years. He died a few days later in his sleep. I'm glad I had those last 6 weeks with him; we were never closer, never more as much a father & son.
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    Sep 30, 2011 1:46 AM GMT
    hehe tattooing.

    I had radio treatment for a different thing, but I didn't get any tattoos for alignment, they used a plastic mold and encased my head and back in it completely.

    I was lucky and didn't experience many side effects except feeling a little sick after eating and lost a bit of muscle..

    Although the best side effect was yet to come...

    DOMS like a mother f***ing monster hahaha and that's only lifting a 10kg dumbbell hahaha
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Sep 30, 2011 10:17 AM GMT
    hoping and praying for a speedy recovery for you.