I would like to further add, that in SC, can't speak for other states, that you can get certified in as little as 18 months to be a radiation tech.
Also, this is my observation from reading what other men write here about the RT or SRT experience, is that they get way too caught up on the technology that is being used, the latest, bestest in IMRT hardware, etc. None of that matters if your RT plan is flawed. The techs go by the book, to the letter of the law (at least they are suppose to), based on the "plan" that the RO and others develop for the individual patient.
In my case, the RO was highly experienced, with the bulk of all her experience with PC, many years in the field, great references, great education background, etc.....yet, she screwed up big time with my plan and made a critical mistake that caused burning in me from the 4th of 39 treatments all the way to the end.
This mistake, and the fact that both the RO and the techs totally blew away my complaints about pain, added to the disaster. It was only after my uro (that some of you have repeatedly cast dispersions on) intervened by phone twice to the RO on my behalf, did the RO even remotely admit that despite their high tech IMRT, that perhaps scattering after all was taking place.
This led to my terrible story of being with suprapubic catheter for 51 weeks in a row post SRT, living off of pain pills (only as legally prescribed) until it was decided that my bladder and bladder neck were effectively destroyed, thus leading to my last major surgery, the bladder by-pass op, which has left me with a perm. stoma and urine collecting device. And there is no chance it is ever going to be able to be fix or replaced.
The entire affair, has left me with perm. severe chronic fatigue, which is why I am still in PT after all this time, I still need pain meds at night, still getting bladder spasms even with the bladder being by-passed, and struggling to live life with a stoma.
All because of a "mistake" by an expert in her field. Yes I know, "it" happens.
It also made me nervous when on many of the days, they were having constant alignment problems, subjecting me to as many as 8 "Snap X-rays" for re-alignment purposes, subjecting me to even more radiation.
I even asked the techs if the IMRT machine I was on was up to current re-fits and specs. I might as well asked them if the moon were made of cheese. I thought it was a good question, they thought it was none of my business.
Guys, don't get hooked on just the technology side, that can be the least of your troubles if something goes very wrong. And there is only so much you can check out in advance with your RO. It's not like buying a car with a checklist of available options.
And I went to a nationally known chain of radiation centers.
Just some food for thought. I am not even remotely opposed to RT for either primary or seconardy treatments if it is the best fit for one's case, but just don't go flying into expecting it to be a "walk in the park". It may be, or it may not. Just like with surgery, the side effects from RT don't always go by the book, and every living person's body reacts very differently to radiation posioning. No people are the same, lot of factors there as well.
David in SC
Post Edited (Purgatory) : 5/16/2011 6:09:32 PM (GMT-6)