Cancer treatment update 10/20/11

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    Oct 20, 2011 1:24 PM GMT
    I'm finishing my 2nd full week of radiation treatment for prostate cancer, and everything's going great. The toughest parts are being there by 7 AM every morning, 5 days a week, and the hot-flash sweats I get 24/7, interrupting my sleep, due to the hormone treatment I'm also receiving. Though not chemotherapy, so no nausea and I won't lose my hair.

    But the treatment itself is painless, like getting an extended x-ray, taking about 8 minutes. And there's a flat screen TV on the ceiling angled down at me, which plays concert videos, so I get entertained. I've seen Barbra; Sting; Rod Stewart; Tony Bennett; Crosby, Stills & Nash, etc.

    I assume some of you are curious about the cutting-edge radiation equipment, which I've mentioned here before. So I wanted to show you some pics, from a company called Elekta. This technology fascinates me, and may be something to keep in mind if someone you know also is diagnosed with cancer. This equipment treats almost all kinds of cancer, where radiation therapy is deemed an option.

    Here's a sketch of the unit. The patient lies on the table, which then rises, and a thin diving-board-like surface extends outward, allowing the 4 arms of the "gantry" to rotate 360 degrees around, including underneath.

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    The actual unit. This table is thicker than the one I use, the extension made of thin Kevlar through which the x-rays can pass.

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    Pretty much how I'm positioned. Though with my pelvic area as the target I keep my shirt on, drop my shorts and get a small modesty cloth draped over me. And my arms are across my chest, away from the radiated area.

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    The gantry as it rotates slowly around the patient. I also had a half-body mold made to position me exactly, though only for my legs, smaller than this one.

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  • vintovka

    Posts: 588

    Oct 20, 2011 2:23 PM GMT
    Glad to hear things are going well! That looks like quite the contraption. I'm pretty well convinced that 20 years from now they'll look at the way cancer was treated 10 years ago in the same way we look at the use of bloodletting to treat pretty much everything during the middle ages. It's amazing how far we've come, but there's still a long way to go.
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    Oct 20, 2011 2:42 PM GMT
    I am very glad to know this great update my friend, May God keep blessing you and stay upbeat you will see how this will work out very good!
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    Oct 20, 2011 3:28 PM GMT
    vintovka saidGlad to hear things are going well! That looks like quite the contraption. I'm pretty well convinced that 20 years from now they'll look at the way cancer was treated 10 years ago in the same way we look at the use of bloodletting to treat pretty much everything during the middle ages. It's amazing how far we've come, but there's still a long way to go.

    Thanks! BTW, that "diving board" they put me on is very narrow, to allow the gantry to clear as it rotates around the table 360 degrees. Despite what the pic of the shirtless guy shows, little room to rest your arms, that might slip off the table and disturb my precise positioning. Plus in my case they'd be in the way of the x-ray beam if held along my side.

    So they give me a large rubber ring, something like a dog's toy, to hold with both my hands across my chest. This reduces any temptation to bring my hands down, like to scratch or stretch or something, plus it holds my arms in place. Otherwise they'd just dangle off the table's edge. So I lie there in the attitude of an Egyptian mummy, very serene, enjoying music videos overhead. LOL!
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    Oct 20, 2011 7:40 PM GMT
    Glad to know you're doing well!! Thanks for the update and I look forward to continued good news!!!
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    Oct 20, 2011 9:44 PM GMT
    Finelad28 saidI am very glad to know this great update my friend, May God keep blessing you and stay upbeat you will see how this will work out very good!

    Thanks! All new territory for me, but I'm learning stuff I want to share. I'm beginning to suspect that prostate cancer is no less a major health issue than women's breast cancer, at least for men 50+.

    And yet no ribbon campaigns for men (would they be blue?), no attempt at massive public awareness. When the dust settles I may want to look into this issue more.
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    Oct 20, 2011 10:50 PM GMT
    Finelad28 saidI am very glad to know this great update my friend, May God keep blessing you and stay upbeat you will see how this will work out very good!

    Thank you, and I will definitely stay upbeat. I confess I wasn't at first, but that's my pattern. At first I tend to cave, but then I regroup and come back strong.

    In this case the fact that my own Father died of this didn't much help. But once I snapped out of my shock I sprang into action. I'm never better than when I have a difficult challenge to face.

    And really, today is not yesterday. I posted those pics above because that's our reality today. You get prostate cancer and detect it early enough, you got it dicked (mild pun intended).

    Expensive, yes, you need some kind of coverage in place. And regardless of a recent news item I saw that said men don't need regular PSA tests (prostate specific antigen in the blood, that indicates some stress on the prostate from infection, or cancer, or some harmful cause), it was a high PSA reading that made my primary doctor insist I see a urologist for a biopsy. She probably saved my life, when I was insisting it was likely just a flareup of my past prostate infections.

    "God helps those who help themselves." And nobody helps me better than me, when my back is up against the wall. Plus a loving partner, and dear friends, who have been driving me to my radiation treatments before dawn, leaving here at 6:30 AM.

    Can you imagine such a thing? Gay & straight, my friends take turns, showing up here at 6:30 to drive me, and then patiently waiting at the clinic until I'm done, to take me back home.

    Don't ever worry about me. I suspect I was fated by family history to get this, but I can't imagine a better set of circumstances in which to have it. If anybody's gonna beat this, it'll be me. icon_biggrin.gif