Tuesday, November 18, 2008

11/18/08 - MU - Radiation Treatments

Radiation ended on November 6 for me. That day, I received my 22nd treatment. Prior to that, I got a treatment every business day (5 times a week). Luckily, the wait times were short (sometimes nil), and the radiation treatment itself only took about 10 minutes. The radiation machine apparently ran all day long, and it kept the radiation technicians very busy getting patients quickly in and out.

So, I'm going to describe one of the typical treatments in my own words. I'm sure there are more medically correct terms for some items, but I'll only use them if I know them. Hopefully, this account will be fairly correct...

I just went out on the web to search for pictures and websites, but one of the sites ended-up crashing my browser, so I'm not going to pursue that route any further. Besides the fact that it can be VERY time consuming. FYI, if you want any information beyond this posting, Wikipedia has a decent site.

When I first got to a radiation appointment I had to wait, but not usually very long. My appointment was at the end of the day, and only one patient followed me. Being there at the same time every day, you usually get to know the other patients with appointments near yours.

When it was my turn to get irradiated, I went into the radiation room, which was good-sized and had the radiation machine in the center. I was asked to lay on the table in front of the machine and secured by my custom-formed mask (see [Radiation Simulation]). Targets on my mask were aligned with some green lasers to get me pretty close to the ideal treatment location. The table I was attached to could move up, down, left, right, forward, and back to align the cross hairs. Once roughly positioned the technicians would leave the room to escape any stray radiation. Once they left, a very heavy automatic door would seal me in the room.


Targets on my mask (circled)

The radiation machine could rotate 360 degrees, and presumably by doing this along with the table movement, it could hit any target. Before treating me, it would first proceed to X-Ray me. Using this image, the software that controlled the machine and the table would adjust my position, so treatment was more accurate. Once fully aligned, the machine would proceed to treat me.

The radiation machine would rotate and "shoot" me with different strength radiation beams from different angles. Each one of these doses (angle, intensity) was called a field. Each day, I was treated (shot) from six different angles. The machine would rotate around me and stop to administer radiation beams, during which it made a buzzing noise. I couldn't feel anything. The below video is an experiment, there were no visible beams emitted from the radiation machine, unlike the lightning bolts I put in for effect... (I don't like the "video," but don't want to change it at the moment.)


Radiation photos

When the treatment was done, the technicians would come into the room and detach my mask. I would then get off of the table, and the appointment was complete.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark,

Any scantily clad bikini babes in that beach picture on the ceiling of the treatment room?

Melvin

11/21/2008 4:51 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Melvin,

Keen eye... I forgot to mention the picture. No bikini babes, but dudes in speedos! Yeah, No people. See my new "Radiation Ceiling" post...

-Mark

11/23/2008 6:58 AM  

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