Tuesday, June 23, 2009

06/23/09 - Radiation Treatments

Well, I've been through a week and a day of Radiation Treatments. They are administered on every business day (5 times per week). Although my doctor hasn't decided the total dose yet, he said there will likely be 20-22 treatments. I'm not receiving any chemotherapy during radiation, but I may receive some afterward.

First, my brain tumor is treated. A "field" is a dose of radiation - an amount and position to administer it to. My brain receives 5 fields. I lay face-down on a table and the radiation machine can move in a circle around me. The table I'm on can also move.

My Spinal Tumor is also treated in the same session as my Brain Tumor. It receives 4 fields. In total, both the treatments take about 15 minutes. I can't feel them, although when certain parts of my brain are "shot," I can see a blue light even if my eyes are closed. I can also smell a strange "burning" scent, even though it is not there. Weird...

I hope to add a more detailed Radiation post in the near future...

Monday, June 22, 2009

06/08/09 - Radiation Simulation

Posted on 6/22. I had a Radiation Simulation performed on 6/8/09. In the past, I had likened it to a "dry-run," but it is more than that. Most of time is used to line up any positioning references to my treatment areas. My "treatment areas" are viewed via CT Scan (CAT Scan).

Radiation's CAT Scanner

Lining up my body to the image created by the CAT Scan is done via a mask, and/or small tattoos. They are aligned with laser targets so that the overall system "knows" where my body is. In addition, the actual Radiation Machine takes X-Rays once I am aligned by the lasers to add even more precision to the process...

Aligning reference lasers with CAT Scan

When my brain tumor is treated, I am face down. The Radiation Technicians made a new mask for me. One can be seen by clicking "here", click the "back" button when you are done looking at the example. The laser targets (for alignment) are blue plus signs. My newest mask only covers the back of my head, not the front of it and my torso, as the example shows.

As I mentioned, another way to align my body are tattoos. In the following picture, I put large green circles around them. The Radiation Technicians used a blue ballpoint pen and smaller circles to highlight them... In the red circle is a bruise from falling down. In the yellow circle are some injuries from wrecking my recumbent tricycle a few weeks ago. It turns out that having one wheel in front of two is not a very stable arrangement... On my head, you can also see the scar from my initial brain tumor surgery in the early fall of 2006.

My tattoos, circled in green

Of course, I tried to keep my tattoos up with the latest trends, but alas, they are only small blue spots, the size of this period ->.