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My CyberKnife Treatment 07-30-2013

Today was my CyberKnife Treatment at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. (To learn more about the treatment please click here).

The bottom line with CyberKnife (CK) radiation is it's accuracy. One of my doctors described it as 'spot welding for the brain". (He has a way with words.) What he means it that the previous radiation treatment I had hit a larger area with a larger beam. The CK was programmed to hit my tumor that is 3/8" x 3/16". When I can scan and post the actual treatment plan you'll be amazed.

I wasn't certain how many treatments I would need but they told me on the table that it would only be one! That was a pleasant surprise. Today was the only CK treatment they thought I would need. Good news! Many times the protocol requires 5-10 individual treatments.

As you look at the pictures you'll notice the 'head' of the CK machine. It is attached to the end of a robotic arm that the radiologist programs to circle around my head and radiate the tumor from dozens of angles: under, over, both sides, and angles in between. I never felt anything except my neck got sore from laying there. :)

As you can also see in the pictures I have a plastic mesh mask that is custom made for my face, just like the one I had made when I had my previous radiation treatment in Gig Harbor almost three years ago. The make it from a flat piece of mesh that they heat and soften in hot water. As you're laying on the table they put the fairly hot mesh on your face and press it all the way to the table where they lock it in until it cools to form a mask of your face. A few adjustments and it's ready to hold your head stable, and in the same place, every time they need to do a treatment. This way they hit the right spot, which is quite helpful.

They only have a few 'concerns'. One is swelling of the tumor area which could give me headaches, nausea and maybe some vomiting. So far I haven't had any. They gave me a tiny prescription of steroids to minimize the swelling as a precaution.

After the treatment my doctor came in to explain to Sandy, Tammi, Dana and I, what happened, what might happen know and what might happen in the future. He answered all our questions and, as usual, we felt very comforted in his capable hands.

And, we had the priviledge of meeting the doctor hand-picked by Dr. Foltz to take his place after he passed away. What a humble man. We can see why he was picked; he's very much like Dr. Foltz... very skilled and wonderful bedside manner.

That's it for now. If I forgot something please ask your question in the comments are and I'll include it in the post.

God bless you all for your concern and for your prayers. We thank God for all of you.  :)

Reader Comments (2)

Do you know why they only had to give you one treatment? Does it have to do with the size of the tumor??

Tammy: It was the opinion of the doctors that one treatment would be sufficient for the type, size, age, rate of growth, etc. of the tumor. I was delighted because it wasn't until I was on the table that I learned the protocol called for only one treatment. The rest is in God's hands... He is my Primary Care Physician. :) - Pastor Chris

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTammy

My husband has mesothelioma and is going to do proton therapy. He is currently enrolled in a clinical trial with a hospital. Is this type of technology better than proton?

November 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

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