Sunday, 23 December 2012

Six Treatments in !!

Sunday 23rd December and I have just returned home after my 6th treatment. The reason I had a treatment this Sunday is to balance out the missing treatment on Christmas Day. I also have a treatment on Saturday 29th December to cover for Boxing Day, and also Saturday 5th January for New Years Day.

Interestingly I was talking to one of the Radiographers yesterday, and my treatment this time is different from the Radiotherapy treatment that I had prior to my first tumour operation last year. The treatment last year was pre operation and the machine doing the treatment used electrons as the X-ray beam. This time my treatment is post operation and I am being treated with a Photon beam. The photons are generated by the electron beam being fired at a tungsten target within the machine, this causes the electrons to dissipate their energy as photons. The photons, which scatter in all directions, are then re-focused into the beam which is then directed at my leg. All this is happening at close to the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) which for us mere mortals is somewhat difficult to comprehend. But it works !!

This a picture of the actual machine, also you can see the treatment table bottom left. This is almost identical to the machine I was on last year. A little worrying to see the workman's step ladder against the back wall, but I guess these are needed to do maintenance on the upper parts of the machine, gives you an idea of the size of the machine.

By December 31st I will have completed 11 treatments, so 1/3rd of the way through. My final treatment will be on Wednesday 30th January 2013.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Radiotherapy Starts

Yesterday (Monday 17th) saw the start of my approximate 7 weeks of radiotherapy. I had been given two late appointments for Tuesday and Wednesday (around 3.30) which would have meant possibly hitting the evening rush hour for the journey home. However on Monday the team very kindly were able to re-arrange both days, Tuesday to 12.30 and Wednesday to 2.10. So a big thanks to them, it is really appreciated !!

Monday saw my first appointment and it was nice to meet up again with some of the staff who had treated me last year. Considering the number of patients they treat it was nice to be remembered and to chat with them. This time round the positioning of my leg for treatment is a little more time consuming and the team take extreme care in ensuring an accurate line up. 

The machine that delivers the treatment is also fitted with two arms, one on each side of the main body. These are an X-ray transmitter and Receiver and you can see these on the pictures below :

X-Ray arms in retracted position

Machine rotated and X-Ray arms deployed

This X-Ray ability allows the operators to instantly take an X-Ray of my leg after I have been lined up using the laser system. Back in the control room this X-Ray is then overlaid on top of the CT scan image taken during the set up and planning procedure. Any slight inaccuracies can then be adjusted by automatically moving the table I am laying on. They are required to position my leg within 1mm every time I have a treatment. The technology which delivers my treatment is very impressive as are the highly trained operators that use it.

My Christmas day treatment will be on Sunday 23rd, Boxing day treatment on Sat 29th, and New years day treatment on the Sat 5th Jan.

So now I've completed 2 treatments, it's only 31 to go !!

Friday, 7 December 2012

CT Scan and a Plan Check

Next Wednesday I go to The new Macmillan Centere at UCLH for a 3 monthly routine chest CT Scan. My last chest X-Ray a couple of weeks ago looked good so I've no reason to expect a negative result.

Also I have been requested to go up to UCLH Radiotheraphy on Friday 14th for a Plan Check. This means a run through of the programme that has been designed for my treatment in terms of positioning for the Radiotheraphy Machine delivery system. Positioning is very critical and must be within 1mm, so they need to be sure that all is in order before treatment starts on the following Monday (17th)