For those who've received IMRT treatments, how reliable was the x-ray machine you were on? Did it act the same every time, or were there issues? Did you ever outright miss a treatment day because of it?
I was to receive my 11th treatment (of 44) today. Didn't happen.
The hospital's one-and-only, big, fancy-shmancy, super-whoopie, Varian Trilogy RapidArc Superman ray gun machine went down around lunch time, and they cancelled all the afternoon treatments pending repairs. (Of course, not until I'd spent an hour and a half waiting for that delightful news, plus the nearly two hour round trip there and back.)
This thing was balky two other times in the last few days, though they were able to deliver therapy with it. You get used to they rhythm of the treatment process, and it's unnerving when it changes.
The first glitch: they rotated to first position for the first x-ray locator image (for IGRT), and then it paused so long the tech came in to tell me they had a "computer glitch". Well, I work with industrial equipment, and I was mighty uncomfortable laying there with that mutha pointed at me while they (I suppose) rebooted the computer. The delivery gantry head clicked a few times, then after more delay it finally revolved around and got going normally.
The second glitch: everything went ok until after the first treatment pass (there are two). Then again the long pause, followed by a never-before-seen rotation of about 90 degrees with no delivery happening (you can hear the buzz when the linac is putting out). Then another pause. I called out, "What's happening?" because they weren't saying anything. They said they were working out a small issue and treatment would resume shortly. It then rotated back down into position, and the second treatment pass happened normally. Afterward, they said the beam-shaping MLC leaves sometimes don't position right, and they found that moving the gantry and returning it to position would clear the error. (It won't deliver if the MLC leaves aren't right.)
So far, for 11 scheduled treatments, I've had 8 normal ones, two with "issues", and today was a total failure.
Is this normal for these machines? Or, is somebody dropping the ball with preventative maintenance or something?
They'll just add a treatment day onto the end of course, but my RO was fairly concerned about my leaving when we were debating whether to stay or not pending the repair. He said he'd rather we stayed to wait out the repair estimate than just bail out, in case we might need to do that again at another time. As it turns out we couldn't receive treatment today after all. How many skipped days can happen before it screws up the treatment?
As if having the stupid disease isn't aggravating enough, to have erratic treatment equipment is just over the top.
IGRT by IMRT started 6/26/13: 50.4 Gy pelvic nodes, 79.2 Gy prostate
ADT2: Lupron 5/1/13 (2 yrs)+Casodex 6/25/13 (1 yr? 2?)
Bilateral EPE per 3T MRI, but SV and LN "normal", staged cT2b/cT3
Age 55, Dx 4/16/13
Bx w/12, one side all G9=5+4 (80%, 60%), 4+5 (2 at 100%, 80%, 10%), PNI confirmed
Date PSA fPSA
3/13 5.2 12% PCA3=31
9/12 4.1 15%
history... since 2002 high/varying PSAs, w/3 neg bx