Thursday, 31 May 2012

Radiotherapy  !!
Radiotherapy starts with having a Mould (or Nest) made to accuratley locate the area to be treated.
In my case a full length leg mould was made over 2 visits to University College Hosopital London

At the same time the technicians are making the mould they tatoo small dots on to the leg in various positions. These dots are used to ensure accurate line up when the radiotheraphy is administered. The radiotheraphay machine uses lasers in 3 planes (X,Y,Z) to ensure that the leg is located in the same position for each visit to an accuracy of about 2mm

This is the actual mould used for my treatment. Althought the mould looks pretty crude it locates the leg very accuratley. It is made from polystyrene foam and quick setting foam for the final fitting.

The light blue bits are the clamps which go over the knee (top) and foot (bottom) these are made from a plastic sheet which is pliable at water boiling point and are moulded over the knee and foot to ensure a snug fit when clamped in place.

You will see on the light blue bits some white tape with dotted lines penciled on. These are the lines used inconjunction with tatoo dots on my leg for the laser line up.

After the mould is complete it is used to take a CT scan of the leg in order the the Consultant Oncologist and the treatment team can plan the radiotheraphy treatment

The whole mould is located on the Radiotherapy machine using pins. Once located, I laid on the table and my leg was clamped in place. The technicians then checked alignment using the laser system. Most days some minor manual re-alignment was required to get my leg in the correct position.

My Radiotheraphy treatment consisted of a 10 second blast from one side of my leg followed by another 10 second blast from another angle. I had 25 sessions (Monday to Friday) over a five week period starting 18th Aug 2011 and finishing 22nd Sept 2011. This meant travelling by train from Tiptree to UCHL each day. This sounds horendous but in actual fact just became part of my day.

Next post !!!   An idiots guide to how radiotherapy works in the very simplest of terms

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


Having got to this stage I thought it was about time I started a blog to show previous and upcoming events.
So here we go !!!
I hope you find it interesting and informative.

For those of you who know me, you will be aware that it all kicked off last year (2011) around May time.

I noticed a small lump on my right calf muscle, didn't take to much notice of it at first, just thought it was a tight muscle. However it didn't go away and got slightly larger.  At this point I went to see my local Physio Tim Humphries for advice. Not something he had come across before and he recommened that I get an Ultrasound Scan on the area.. I arranged a scan at the Oaks Private Hospital in Colchester, this was carried out on the 30th June 2011. 

After the Scan the Doctor rang my GP and arranged an appointment for the following morning. It was during this appointment that I was told I had a Tumour in my leg. I came home pretty shell shocked. That has to be one of  the worse things ever to hear. This was followed up by a phone call later that morning to say that an appointment had been made for me to see a specialist surgeon at the Royal National Orthopeadic Hospital in London on the Monday18th July.

At this meeting with Consultant Surgeon Mr John Skinner, an MRI scan was arranged for the Friday 22nd July.  This was followed up by a CT scan and Biopsy at RNOH Stanmore. The Biopsy showed a High Grade Spindle cell Tumour called a Sarcoma.

At the follow up meeting with the Surgeon it was decided that the best approach would be to have 5 weeks of Radiotheraphy to sterilise the tumour before surgical removal. The Radiotheraphy was carried out at University College Hospital London (UCLH)

More to follow tomorrow !!