Today I had my 29th treatment of proton radiation therapy at Loma Linda University Medical Center. For these final 17 treatments I have a smaller aperture and bola for each side. Dr. Bush explained that this was the plan so that the initial treatments would also cover a 12mm margin and the seminal vesicles for the first 28 treatments. Yesterday the session took a bit longer as the technicians took more x-rays than the usual 2 taken each treatment to align everything. The extra images were used to re-align everything for these new smaller apertures and bolas.
I really welcome this development as I was concerned about that 12mm margin, but now I understand the approach and just wish I had been more informed about these details earlier. I have also learned there are a wide variety of adjustments and tweaks, including hybrid treatments that use protons for the first half then photons for the second half.
We had our one-hour tour of the other gantries and the “back room” where the protons are made last Sunday. Of course one hour was far too short for me and the whole apparatus was a marvel of tubes and wires and magnets, pumps, meters, valves and all sorts of gadgetry. It is all pretty impressive though smaller than I had envisioned.
I’m now on a regular schedule to start my day with a treatment at 5 AM which works well for me as I wake around 4 anyway. Usually by 5:30 I am in the gym and workout for 30-60 minutes followed by a 30 minute sauna. After breakfast I work online a bit and then go for a walk, hike or ride my bike for a couple of hours. After lunch I do a bit more on the computer and phone until dinner which is often part of some event or another here. Last night it was a nice Christmas party for proton patients, Tuesdays we have a pot-luck dinner in a nearby club house, Wednesdays we get sandwiches and fruit at the Brotherhood of the Balloon meeting and so forth. I think the holidays are a great time to go through treatments here. I have had some urgency and burning that is relieved with ibuprofen. Dr. Bush says this is normal due to the radiation and will stop when the treatments are done. Overall I feel fine and stay busy.
I am scheduled on Amtrak to Sacramento for Christmas and if everything continues smoothly will return for the last 9 treatments to finish on Friday, January 7. I’m looking forward to the documentaries about our food supply that will be shown at the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival January 15-17. I’ll be there to hand out iDrive 55 bumper stickers for the Drive 55 Conservation Project and invite all my friends to come to Nevada City to enjoy this event. Our doc is scheduled to screen on Saturday night and Sunday morning plus we are doing an interview in the media center hosted by http://www.seejanedo.com on Sunday that will be streamed online by http://www.cognizantproductions.com