Thursday, August 20, 2009

2nd day of radiation

Today when I arrived at the cyberknife suite, the waiting room was empty so it was much less festive. Yesterday the other two patients had completed their treatments and were happily on their way home. Same protocol today as yesterday; a beautiful blond woman with a huge engagement ring dispensed the pills - steroid for swelling and an anti-nausea pill, unidentified. My tall thin and very young Asian tech came out to get me and we went straight in and started the procedure. I asked him if they had a name for the machine - he said "cyberknife 1" - which surprised me. I would've thought the first thing they would do is name it. I climbed on the gurney, they masked me down, left the room and cranked er up. She chirps, buzzes, hums and squeals. I heard very high pitched sounds continuing for some time and then something like castanets. The sounds come from all over. I opened my eyes for a while and stared in hers. A little light seems to be coming from her head and she moves around quickly from spot to spot. I saw the red lasers for directions today too. Because I was less nervous and more interested today, I saw more and actually enjoyed part of it. It seemed to be over fast.

Dr. Soltys came in just as I was leaving and asked if it had gone OK and if I was feeling OK after yesterdays treatment. Yes, yes, yes on all accounts. I asked my few questions about getting copies of my tests - yes, at the radiological library right behind the cafeteria and I received 18 grays of radiation broken into three doses of 6 grays each day. He was all smiles and said he would see me tomorrow before I left.

Overall this has been a great experience. Stanford hospital is beautiful. The main lobby looks like a 5 star hotel lobby. There is reading material and libraries everywhere. The cafeteria has decent food. People are friendly and cooperative for the most part. If I was forced to think of something to complain about, I'd have to think hard.

Well, tomorrow it will be over with, the tumor will have been dealt the coup de gras and the rest will be history. I have a 97% chance that the tumor will die; a 30% chance of losing the remaining hearing in the AN ear and an almost zero chance that balance, taste will return to normal. However after the vestibular training that could improve.

They are doing research for a cure for these tumors, but are finding that it is very difficult to grow acoustic neuroma cells in a petri dish. Out of sixty samples recently they were able to get two strings to grow. Not enough. They are trying to determine the chromosome which is responsible for the tumor suppression protein and why it is screwed up. If they figure this out it might be possible to develop an oral dose of this protein which one could take when the tumor is discovered. This might prevent further growth and if symptoms aren't bad at time of discovery then people could function quite normally. A lot of "mights".

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