Started my IMRT on Wednesday, so here’s my story. Sorry if it does sound like a story, maybe not all that technical, and I’m sure most reading this have already gone through it. So, this is for myself as somewhat of a journal, and for others that will have to go down somewhat the same path.
Technical stuff.. I took Casodex for 30 days which stopped on the day of my first radiation treatment.
I will receive 25 fractions (treatments) with a total dose of 4,500 cGy. Whole pelvis will be treated using an Elekta Infinity, VMAT (volumetric-modulated arc therapy) which delivers radiation on a linear accelerator using a cone beam.
I’m not regular in the number 2 department, so I read up on a few things to take and settled on Psyllium Husks at 610mg taken once at dinner time, and another when I wake up at 4. Holy crap, no pun intended, does this stuff work great. I’m able to empty my bowel pretty much 1 hour or so before my radiation treatments which are scheduled at 8:00 am.
Water..I chug around 10ozs of water at 1 hr. before treatments. I fill up bottle with 20 more oz’s of water and out the door I go. I drink that within 15mins. Doctor said I had the perfect amount of water in bladder during first x-ray.
My first treatment… Checked into front desk, already had card with bar code on it. Receptionist informed me after the first treatment that I will just come in, scan card, sit down, look at screens and head to dressing rooms when my name turns to green and states ‘Ready.’ But for the first treatment the nurse will call me in, which she did.
The nurse comes in about
5 minutes later and gives me another card with the names of the 3 people that will pretty much be the ones setting me up and administering the radiation for the next 5 weeks. She then shows me where gowns were, lockers, and what to do.
I dress down and wait about
3 mins before another nurse comes in. She’s one of the three that will be treating me. She brings me to the vault where I meet the other two and basically forget their names within 15 seconds because I’m like a dear in headlights as it all becomes very real now. Each one is super nice and more than willing to talk with you and answer any questions you have.
There are two monitors on each side of the linear accelerator where the lead radiologist is stationed. One is directly attached to the Linac, the other is showing the application(s) that talk(s) with the hospital app (Epic in my case) and the Linac itself. The tech has one of the applications up and running which has a picture of myself and everything that will happen during the treatment. She makes me look at my pic, asks me if it’s me. Then asks my birthdate, name and what I’m here for. This will happen at every treatment.
Onto the gantry I go. So, you are naked from the waste down, of course you have a gown on. They then have you sit down on gantry, you lift your gown so your bare butt is on sheet.
You place legs in air cast and lie down and adjust. They then give you a rubber ring that you hold onto at chest level with both hands if you like. I tried it with and without, I like holding it. I found after the first treatment that I had a death grip on that thing though. They make sure you are in the air cast properly and the adjusting begins. They place a large towel over pelvis area, they then pull up gown, then pull towel down right above your junk and look for the tattoos.
Guys, best to trim down there or they will be searching high and low for the tattoo.
This is where the bare butt and sheet comes into play as they adjust you by pulling the sheet in different
locations to line you up. Do not resist, do not help in anyway, let them move you and relax which I found super hard to do the first time. The next two times was much easier as you get used to the process.
The head tech looks on the screen making sure after lasers are aligned and that there is no ‘shift.’ They pull up towel, then pull down gown so you are fully covered again. They inform you what will happen, and out the room they go.
This is when your heart rate climbs, kind of freaky to be honest.
Oh yeah, they will play whatever music you want, and the ceiling is a back lit shot of some landscape scene which is very nice, but kind of remined me of the movie, 'Soylnet Green' of all things.
Once out of room the device fires up and then spins around scanning you and taking an x-ray (CT). That takes all of 30 seconds. After it stops, the gantry makes very small adjustments automatically.
Tech comes on speaker, informs me that they are waiting for my RO to give the Okay.
RO comes in 3 minutes later, informs me everything looks great, that I have the perfect amount of water in my bladder, asks me how I’m doing, I lie and say, “great!”
RO leaves the room, tech comes back on and says they will begin treatment, stay still, yada…
Device makes some noises, and off it goes. It makes different noises (buzzing) which I find out later is the device shaping the imaging field. It also does not zap you the whole time around.
It makes one 360-degree cycle which takes 55 seconds. It then stops for about
15 seconds and it seems to adjust some more, jiggles back and forth, the device that is administering the radiation spins around, and off it goes again the opposite direction. Same thing, same amount of time, it then stops, device turns off and in come the techs 30 seconds later.
And that’s it.
Out of the room I go, get dressed, and into the bathroom to pee.
The next two times are quicker because we don’t have to wait for the RO to give the thumbs up, so once you are in the room I would say you are in the vault no more than 10 minutes.
I’m three days in, 22 to go.
First side effect is…. Taste. Yuck, I’m getting a metallic taste in my mouth now, but that’s it. I’ll update the end of next week if anything different comes up.
Post Edited (ldog) : 10/9/2018 5:31:12 PM (GMT-6)