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Weston Bye
03-08-2015, 09:07 AM
Got my first session with this bugger under my belt. (that's where it aimed anyway). Was kind of like the defrost cycle on a microwave. Shot at me from 10 different directions and time durations. Don't know the total "cooking time" but was on the table for maybe 20 minutes - initial setup, etc.

I experienced no pain or discomfort, but was starting some involuntary minor shuddering by the end of the session - some serious stuff taking place.

This was the first of a 5 days a week, 8 week course. Only another 39 sessions to go...

bborr01
03-08-2015, 09:55 AM
That's not the kind of machine that I was expecting to see Wes. Good luck and I hope you get better soon. Is this follow up from the prostate cancer.

Brian

browne92
03-08-2015, 10:15 AM
Linear accelerator? Yikes. Hoping all the best for you.

boslab
03-08-2015, 10:39 AM
Bit more accurate than gamma, them protons give good targeting, it'll be ok, thinking of you, take care, btw follow the diet!, if they didn't give one ask
Mark
Btw, irradiated several times, none deliberate
Mark

Rosco-P
03-08-2015, 10:42 AM
Linear accelerator? Yikes. Hoping all the best for you.

Think it's a Gamma ray source, but I could be wrong. Big plate opposite from the head absorbs whats left of the beam after it passes through the body.

Good luck, try and maintain a heathy diet.

Toolguy
03-08-2015, 11:15 AM
So - what's it like to be on the mill instead of running it?:p I hope it all works out Wes. You have shared so much with all of us, I think you deserve a free pass this one time. All the Best - Warren

Weston Bye
03-08-2015, 11:54 AM
... Is this follow up from the prostate cancer.

Brian

Yep, surgery 3 years ago - they thought they got it all at that time. PSA was OK for a while but then began inching up until it got to 0.2, considered the threshold for biochemical recurrence for someone who has had surgery. I was disappointed but not particularly surprised, given my Gleason 8 score, considered a rather aggressive form of the prostate cancer. An MRI and a bone scan showed no metastasis to distant parts of the body, so it is probably only a few stray cells left over from the surgery.

Standard treatment is to hose down the area where the prostate was with radiation. The radiation doesn't kill the cancer cell directly - instead it damages its DNA. It also damages the DNA of healthy cells but these are able to repair themselves where the cancer cells can't, and they don't reproduce and eventually die off.

Concurrent to the radiation, I am participating in a clinical study that involves hormone deprivation therapy. Prostate Cancer feeds on testosterone, so the idea is to deprive the cancer of its fuel. A ruinously expensive 6-month shot and some pills 2 months ago accomplished this - essentially chemical castration - and my PSA dropped to zero. The most noticeable side effects are hot flashes and reduced libido. The flashes have been tolerable, but girls are still pretty.

The hormone therapy should weaken the cancer, giving the radiation more of a chance to be successful. The hormone deprivation is not a cure though, and if the radiation is unsuccessful, and when the shot wears off, my PSA could climb again.

There are 4 usual ways to treat prostate cancer:
Cut it out (surgery)
Burn it out (radiation)
Starve it (hormone deprivation)
Poison it (Chemo)

Looks like I'm doing the Trifecta. I hope not to get to the final method.
I give this long-winded explanation as an admonition to periodically get your PSA checked.

The Artful Bodger
03-08-2015, 03:31 PM
Photon torpedoes! I have been through that Wes, ten years ago, and may I suggest you pay strict attention to what they say about managing bladder content. I had no serious side effects and it knocked my cancer right back.

Best wishes,
John.

MikeL46
03-08-2015, 04:51 PM
Wow, I just posted my experiences with prostate cancer (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/66272-OT-Prostate-cancer) and I scroll down and find this.

Best wishes for a positive outcome for you and anyone else with this disease.

As long girls are still attractive there is plenty of hope for you.

Mike

Carm
03-08-2015, 05:08 PM
Chemo, radiation and surgery can all have after effects, life changing & painful.
As they say, considering the alternative, not bad.
If you have an appetite and the gals look good, every day above ground is a good one.
Best wishes to you.

Alistair Hosie
03-08-2015, 06:16 PM
I wish you well brother keep your spirits high,kindest regards Alistair

Bob Fisher
03-08-2015, 09:26 PM
Hey Wes, sorry to hear you have to go through that, been there, done that,you begin to think there Is no way I can do this 35 times. Mine was on the vocal chords last Dec. Apparently it was a success, but the jury is probably still out on that one. The very best of luck Wes. Bob.

garyhlucas
03-08-2015, 10:19 PM
Wes,
You missed one, Cryosurgery, they freeze it. I had mine out about 4 years ago. PSA are okay so far. Lots of people rowing in this boat. Wishing you the best. Will you be at the show in April? I met you there last year.

becksmachine
03-09-2015, 09:36 AM
Hi Wes,

It seems that you have the attitude necessary to beat it. :)

I mean this in a positive way, you deserve to be the beneficiary after giving so much.

Good luck to you!

Dave

Weston Bye
03-09-2015, 06:13 PM
Day 2, still learning my way.

Day 1, I showed up with an overfull bladder and did the routine, but went to stand up afterward and lost control a bit, soaking my shorts and trousers. Seems my remaining sphincter, the lone survivor from the surgery, was not man enough for the task and lost its grip. Good thing I had a towel in the car, just drove straight home as was the plan and changed clothes.

Today I planned my water OK, but showed up with a full bowel. They sent me out to give it a try on the toilet, without emptying my bladder!! Only way was to pinch the hose and grunt, but no luck. They made adjustments and I went through the program and got off the table without mishap.

I thought to enquire about the amount of radiation I was getting. 1.8 Grays or 1800 Rads each visit with a few adjustments here and there for a total of about 70 Grays for the course, a pretty heavy dose, but standard for the condition.

By the way, an hour after I got home... A right proper bowel movement. Figures.

Sorry for the gross details. I expect that things will settle out and most future reports will be "Nothing to Report" except the count will change.

oldtiffie
03-09-2015, 09:56 PM
Good on you Weston.

I've been through it and all was OK - my PSA was 0.10ppm when I saw my Urologist and Radiation Oncologists about a week or so later about the radiation treatment.

I am on the hormone therapy now and going very well.

I am surprised that you had full bowels as I had to have an enema every day before and during the radiation process - so as not to leave a "cooked sausage" that might have been hard to pass.

I had to have a full bladder (1 liter) for 2 hours before and "hold onto it" during the treatment - I sure was glad to get rid of it. The road to the hospital was a lot rougher then normal -a lot - and hanging onto the fluid in my bladder was quite a task.

My program was every day Mon>Fri for 7 weeks (5 x 7 = 35). I could see most of what was going on on a monitor in the radiation room. They took an x-ray every Tuesday and it was posted to the Radiation Oncologist and he discussed it with my wife and I - very informative and very helpful -and he took as long as we required which was very helpful indeed. The Urologist was extremely good and informative too.

I really could not have asked for more from the staff at the radiation centre - they were top class.

My/our General Practitioner (GP) local doctor as always was excellent too.

No bowel or other/any problems afterward.

The machine was pretty well the same as the one in your pic.

I had my prostate removed just over 10 years ago and I am going very well.

I wish you all that you and yours wish for yourselves.

Weston Bye
03-10-2015, 02:32 PM
Day 3. Would not even post today, as everything was unremarkable except that the machine broke down. Was setting up for my last "field" as they call it when one of the leaves or shutters that sets the radiation aperture stuck. The technician was in the area so they had me dismount and wait, pee a little and drink some more water. Back on the table, they had to line me up again with my tattoos, do another CT scan and then complete the last shot - the latter lasting a whole 10-15 seconds.

I am sure that they had my good health in mind and wanted me to get the full benefit, but I am also sure that they wanted to be able to bill for that 10-15 seconds.

TGTool
03-10-2015, 05:34 PM
I did some radiation for skin cancer on my nose a few years ago. The charges always seemed huge. Something like $168 every day and then an additional $200 - $250 when the doctor talked monthly. That consisted of a blood pressure check and short conversation with the doc like, "Yes, that looks about like we expect. Any questions?" And the question I asked he couldn't answer.

Since it was on my face they had lead disks over the eyes. Nevertheless, when the radiation came on my whole, normally dark field of vision lit up. I asked about that and he knew nothing about it. An email to the machine manufacturer got a response that they encountered that rarely but didn't now why either. Huh!

As you mention, the whole thing doesn't (normally) take long. But it was kind of an interesting and slightly surreal trip. I'm lying down, constrained and blind with the eye protection. The technicians say goodbye and you hear the footsteps recede. Then you hear the doors close. And then a series of three relay clicks. The door interlock clicks and you know you're locked in the room with this thing. Then the machine next to me clicks and hums, then it clicks again and the light comes on. It had a certain inevitable march and finality to it. But they always came back and rescued me.

oldtiffie
03-10-2015, 06:50 PM
Hard luck about the costs etc. as I don't have to pay anything for any medical item - at all (Hospitals included) - as I am a Veterans Affairs "Gold Card" holder. I have the option of paying my own way in my car and getting paid $AU 0.45 (45 cents) a Kilometre (~0.6 miles) or have a taxi/cab take my wife and I to and from the procedure etc. (at DVA expense).

https://www.google.com.au/?gws_rd=ssl#q=dva+gold+card

Dispensary (drug store/pharmaceutical) prescription item cost both my wife and I AU$ 6.50 each until we reach a set limit (called our "safety net") after which they are free for the remainder of each calendar year.

https://www.google.com.au/?gws_rd=ssl#q=safety+net+prescriptions

It makes life and expenses a lot easier.

Weston Bye
03-10-2015, 07:36 PM
Hard luck about the costs ...

... makes life and expenses a lot easier.

(Sigh...) I suppose I brought it up, mentioning getting paid, but I don't want this thread to turn into a debate on the merits and shortcomings of various healthcare systems, particularly when there is nothing we or I can do to change things in the short term.

When all this is over I will try to give an accounting of the costs and then welcome everyone to brag.

oldtiffie
03-10-2015, 07:51 PM
Sorry Weston - will comply.

oldtiffie
03-12-2015, 03:03 AM
See my post at the "other" thread:

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/66272-OT-Prostate-cancer?p=972522#post972522

fjk
03-12-2015, 09:16 AM
Sigh. Sorry about having to become acquainted with a new machine ...

I got to know your machine's brother a few years ago. (Or maybe cousin? Mine
was a "Novalis"...). Anyway, they are pretty neat machines. They use linear
accelerators to generate high-power X-rays. The head of the machine rotates
around you, zapping the target from different angles. As it does, they change
the shape of the beam so that it conforms (to within something like 0.1mm)
to the shape of the target as seen from that angle. The notion is that the cumulative
dose of x-rays is high enough to do real damage only where the multiple beams
cross --- which should be just the target. They also took imaging x-rays before and
after each session to see _exactly_ where I, and Spanky-the-tumor, were on the
table, and aligned the high-power beam accordingly (think of it as edge-finding :-).
A lot of serious computing power and precision mechanical widgetry in the machine!

Since then, Spanky hasn't shown any additional signs of life in my yearly MRIs, so I
guess I'm a happy customer.

Good Luck
Frank

Georgineer
03-12-2015, 04:53 PM
...The most noticeable side effects are hot flashes ...



A lady friend of mine is adamant that it is not a hot flush but a power surge.

George

oldtiffie
03-12-2015, 08:20 PM
Sigh. Sorry about having to become acquainted with a new machine ...

I got to know your machine's brother a few years ago. (Or maybe cousin? Mine
was a "Novalis"...). Anyway, they are pretty neat machines. They use linear
accelerators to generate high-power X-rays. The head of the machine rotates
around you, zapping the target from different angles. As it does, they change
the shape of the beam so that it conforms (to within something like 0.1mm)
to the shape of the target as seen from that angle. The notion is that the cumulative
dose of x-rays is high enough to do real damage only where the multiple beams
cross --- which should be just the target. They also took imaging x-rays before and
after each session to see _exactly_ where I, and Spanky-the-tumor, were on the
table, and aligned the high-power beam accordingly (think of it as edge-finding :-).
A lot of serious computing power and precision mechanical widgetry in the machine!

Since then, Spanky hasn't shown any additional signs of life in my yearly MRIs, so I
guess I'm a happy customer.

Good Luck
Frank

That is an excellent description of the radiation therapy process Frank.

Many thanks.

I should make a couple of points regarding MRI's and CT's etc. as I understood my Radiation Oncologist who made sure that my wife and I understood all that we needed to know about those radiation processes as well as apart from the radiation therapy but used in conjunction with it. We used to see him at 5 monthly intervals (he retired last Christmas) as we do with the Urologist.

We see our General Practitioner - aka GP and local Doctor 2-weekly.

All are really excellent in all ways and we are as well as we are because of them.

But back to the Radiation Oncologist and MRI's and CT's etc.

First of al he said that the PSA is the average rate of prostate cancer - both before and after the removal of the Prostate - and that PSA post operation is the normal way of assessing the level of cancer and its rate of progression (increase) and regression (loss).

Next, the cancer is a "soft tissue" item and the smallest (normally) size of an individual cancer that they/it can detect is about 2 to 3 mm (say 0.08" to 0.12"). It will not normally detect anything less so there could (will?) be a lot of cancer floating/being around that they may/will miss "seeing".

PSA will pick up the sum total of cancer that is not less (i.e. under) than 0.01PPM (parts per million) and that it is more the rate of change rather that the "steady state" of PSA that is of concern.

If the PSA is "flat lining" it is of a lot less risk that an PSA that is rising quickly.

When I was doing my daily radiation therapy (daily for 7 weeks - 5 x 7 = 35 times) the technicians/Radiologist took several x-rays and sent them to the Oncologist every Tuesday for our (wife and I) weekly appointment with him for assessment and discussion with us.

After about 2 weeks my radiation therapy my PSA was reduced to 0.01ppm - so we knew it was there as it was at or more than the 0.01ppm "floor" that the PSA test could detect.

It started to rise - slowly but accelerating - after the radiation therapy and I commenced the hormone therapy which is going very well.

There was no cancer showing in my bones/skeleton with the "Bone scan" x-rays.

I'd rather I didn't have cancer but I did and still do and will have it for the rest of my life.

Every one - Doctors and my wife and I - are happy as we can be in the circumstances - and we are very much relieved and getting on with our lives very well.

My wife and I will adjust if and as necessary as we go along.

The radiation beam was aimed at the pocket that the prostate and its surrounds were removed from - so it was "localised" - my prostate and its adjacent lymph node glands were removed.

Weston Bye
03-12-2015, 08:47 PM
Day 5, uneventful.

As has been mentioned, tattoos are a part of the process. No big deal.

However, in an effort to find some humorous relief, I am contemplating having my tats "embellished" at a tattoo parlor after the process is over. Probably never get to show them off, considering the location...

Here is some idle doodling:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/Weston/DSCN5048_zpski9dvb0r.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/Weston/media/DSCN5048_zpski9dvb0r.jpg.html)
Anybody have any ideas?

The Artful Bodger
03-12-2015, 09:40 PM
Weston, they told us at a patients information meeting that the womenfolk having tattoos on their breasts could have these later changed at hospital expense to a more decorative design, a butterfly for example. No one had any appropriate suggestion for what us men should have!

oldtiffie
03-12-2015, 10:56 PM
Some would say that as many who have had their prostate removed and have had or are on hormone therapy as a result it and who have "man boobs", cannot get or hold an erection or ejaculate, have little or no libido and who have an increase in women's hormones - hot flushes too??!! - and lack "drive" are no longer "real men" and are more toward the female than the male are thereby not "men" at all and don't need tattoos like "real men" do.

If all or most of that is the case then there is no need to get a "male" tattoo because of hormone therapy.

But don't forget your hand-bag and cosmetics (and use them).

Is getting such a tattoo a "bit tatty"?

https://www.google.com.au/?gws_rd=ssl#q=tatty

https://www.google.com.au/?gws_rd=ssl#q=tatty

oldtiffie
03-12-2015, 11:19 PM
Many of us who had time in the Navy will recall ("others" of course - never "us") chasing or hoping for some luck and finding some "tatty old bit" (for what ever purpose).

As a tattoo is a "tat" would tatty Old bit have been tattoo-ed and if she had it for radiation therapy I suspect that some who "got lucky" (with "her"??) might have cause for concern.

http://www.theauthenticperishers.co.uk/mainmenu/tatty.htm

https://www.google.com.au/?gws_rd=ssl#q=tatty+old+bit+the+sailors+friend

But at least our families knew we were (are??) "pure" - and all thanks to Hormone therapy (with or without tattoo embellishment).

fjk
03-13-2015, 08:06 AM
Anybody have any ideas?

If you can see this dot
You're too close

?

oldtiffie
03-13-2015, 06:04 PM
If all else fails when "it" don't werk enny maw there might be hope yet:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-14/penis-transplant-gives-hope-to-victims-of-ritual-circumcisions/6318478

Weston Bye
03-19-2015, 07:58 PM
Nothing remarkable just the round number 10. Increasing fatigue and beginnings of bowel habit changes, not for the better. Comes with the program...

Radiation techs remarked today that I have a long program - longer than most others. They said that the next stage in a couple of weeks is even longer.

My reading of the literature they gave me is that they are doing full pelvis first and then they do only the prostate bed.

I will be well and truly cooked by the end of this.

Carm
03-19-2015, 08:13 PM
Mr.Bye
The tattoos will disappear, according to my wife- I never saw them anyway.
You haven't mentioned nausea and I hope there is no need, but ginger can help. No, not Ginger, but the root or permutations thereof. It may prevent taking one drug to counteract another that you take because another ad nausea...

oldtiffie
03-19-2015, 08:15 PM
Well done Weston for persevering with the program.

It does seem a bit long-ish compared to mine (Mom>Fri x 7 weeks - 35) in which the bed the bed my prostate laid in plus the surrounding tissue and lymph glands were radiated as my cancer had been very aggressive and I guess the post-op pathology report on the removed tissue was not as good as might have been hoped for or perhaps the Urologist and Radiation Oncologist were being very cautious/conservative as my cancer returned after the prostate was removed (about 4 years after as I recall).

But it worked reasonably well as the radiation therapy reduced my PSA to 1.0ppm - so it was still there but as it increased again later it was a good basis for my hormone therapy which seems to be working quite well.

I've had 10 years so far after my prostate was removed and despite some of the side and after effects of hormone therapy I am going very well. My Urologist has assured my wife and I that we have a good number of good years before us yet.

So,using my case as a reference you have many good years left yet.

Weston Bye
03-19-2015, 08:16 PM
I'm given to understand that there will be no nausea - but diarrhea is a definite possibility.

Tiffie, I take your experience as encouragement, but even if things don't work as planned, I expect at least another serviceable 10 years or so.