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Swing Shift---wishing you the best

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 1351
Joined: Apr 2009

for a great treatment and results.......Ira

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 648
Joined: Mar 2010

Thanks for the good wishes. I was just going to start a new thread on this, but no need now.

I had my first CK treatment this morning at 7:30 Pacific Time and, as far as I know, it went great! Didn't feel a thing. The hardest part was finding a parking space in the crowded and confusing garage at UCSF and laying on the table for an hour while the CK machine moved around and zapped me from every different direction. Couldn't tell when the machine was zapping me w/radiation, but was told it was only when the arm of the machine was stationary. Each treatment delivers a total of 9.5 grays of radiation.

Was able to listen to my iPod and wear street clothes on the table during the treatment -- no gown required. Just had to pull my pants down to my hips. I don't normally wear underwear, but I was prepared and wore a pair for the treatment! LOL!

An enema is not normally required before treatment, but I had a gas bubble in my rectum when I took my CT and MRI and my RO was worried that it might not be there when I received the treatment, which would throw the computer imaging off. So, I was asked to do an enema before the treatment (as I did before the CT/MRI) to make sure I'd replicate the bubble. It was there again this morning and is apparently just something unique to me. The alignment with the CT/MRI scans was almost perfect but will do an enema before each of the next 3 treatments just to be consistent.

Too early to talk about side effects, but so far -- after just a few hours -- there are absolutely none. If this works as reported, it beats the hell out of any other treatment available for PCa for early stage and low PSA/Gleason patients like me and others.

Will report more when there's more to report.

Ciao!!

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Kongo
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

Swing,

Glad you had a great first session and good tip about wearking skivvies for the dosage. I'm sure the techs would have laughed themselves silly had you forgot.

Fleet enemas were part of my protocol as well as a low fiber diet and a mild laxitive the night before a session so that they could minimize any potential material in the colon that could cause the prostate to move around.

Hope the rest of your sessions go as smoothly as this one.

mrspjd
Posts: 693
Joined: Apr 2010

Thinking about you today and glad to hear all went well. By session 4 or 5 you'll be a pro, but then the treatment will be finished! Hope it continues to go as well as today and the only side effect being unable to find a parking space at UCSF!
Best to you.

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 648
Joined: Mar 2010

Message out of chronological order - deleted.

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 648
Joined: Mar 2010

Got my 2nd CK treatment today.

Results were just the same as the first. No noticeable side effects. No urinary urgency or irritation yet. Still pee relatively frequently, but was doing that before the treatments started. My GF's out of town (in NYC for a wedding) and haven't had a chance to check the ED effect yet, but I still get a night time woody and will check functional operation of the equipment as soon as the GF returns after the last treatment (unless I feel the need to take things into my own hands before then). ;-)

You're not supposed to feel anything during the treatment. It may have just been my imagination, but I thought that I felt some tingling and a dull ache (not pain) in my pelvic region during the treatment but that was probably just gas.

Frankly, the hardest thing to do is still trying to lay still for the 1 & 1/2 hours or so that I've been on the table each time so far. The machine can account for minor movements (like breathing), but is programmed to stop if the movements put the prostate too far out of alignment w/the baseline images. Also, even though you can move your arms during the treatment, you have to cross your arms across your chest and they are held in position w/a velcro sling wrapped over your elbows in order to avoid getting the way of the radiation beam. Got a cramp in my elbows both times holding this position for so long, but at least I was able to move them around a bit to relieve the tension.

Found myself looking at the machine less than I did the 1st time and I still can't tell when the radiation beam is on or not. Just closing my eyes and listening to my iPod to pass the time in a semi-dream state (a little like meditation).

Have to remember to bring a camera to take a picture of the machine. Basically, there's a large rectangular box w/a 2 stage tube at the end which shoots the radiation out through a small aperture towards the body. The box is attached to a huge 2 piece rotating gimballed arm (like your arm which can bend at the elbow, rotate the lower arm and bend at the wrist) that is attached to a rotating vertical support (like the trunk of your body), which allows the radiation to be pointed in every possible direction. An impressive piece of machinery.

The radiation pattern (direction and intensity) is planned by the radiation oncologist and a physicist and the treatments are executed by a CK technician, who's watching me on 4 cameras and watching what the machine is doing on a computer. The CK tech told me that he had to train a year on the machine to get certified before he could operate it.

The same pattern of radiation is used for each of the treatments; 4 in my case. The radiation pattern pretty much covers a full 180 degree axis side to side and about a 120 degree axis head to toe.. It seems that every part of my prostate is being attacked. The exact location of the radiation pattern is fixed by the 3 markers that were inserted in my prostate and verified by 2 x-ray devices attached to the ceiling above the machine. They align the x-ray image w/the CT/MRI images taken previously before each treatment and, if the x-ray image is too far out of line, the machine will not function. So far, no problem on that score.

Next treatment on Monday 9/20.

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 648
Joined: Mar 2010

1st Dup Msg Deleted

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 648
Joined: Mar 2010

2nd Dup msg deleted. Hopefully there are no more.

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 648
Joined: Mar 2010

Got my 3rd treatment today and the experience was basically the same as the last 2, EXCEPT that I definitely felt some low level (2-3 out of 10) pain on the right side of my groin during the treatment (and it definitely wasn't gas that caused the pain).

Speaking of gas, there apparently was some excess gas in my rectum and they had to tilt me almost upside down in order to adjust for the presence and movement of the gas during the treatment. Got a dizzy and little light-headed because of the upside down position, but otherwise no problems.

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 648
Joined: Mar 2010

Well, it's all done now.

Got my last CK treatment this morning. Four treatments of 9.5 gray each for a total radiation dosage of 38 grays, which is apparently the standard protocol for CK now.

Apart for the minor pain I experienced a couple times in my groin during the 3rd treatment, the experience was quite uneventful. No greater urinary (frequency or urgency) problems than I had before treatment and my GF just came came from NYC and I verified that there are no ED issues either. So, so far, everything is great.

Now, all we have to do is wait for further PSA testing. The testing protocol used at UCSF is a test every 3 months for the 1st year and a test twice a year for years 2-5. Don't get a lot of hand holding at UCSF and will probably not see or speak w/my radiation oncologist again unless a problem arises.

Time will tell if I'm a survivor or not but, based on prior reports from men who have also been treated w/CK, the prognosis is excellent for complete remission following treatment. Looking forward to a similar result in my case.

Ciao!

Kongo's picture
Kongo
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

Swing, I know you're happy to have this in the rear view mirror. I hope the rest of your recovery continues to go smoothly. I have my 3-month check next Friday. Still no side effects.

mrspjd
Posts: 693
Joined: Apr 2010

We're in the cheering section, rooting for you both--can you hear us? If not, I suggest you turn up your volume!

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 648
Joined: Mar 2010

I don't need to turn up the volume on my hearing aid. I hear you mrspjd!

Many thanks and good luck to the man in your life too!

mrspjd
Posts: 693
Joined: Apr 2010

I meant the volume on your computer, but in either case, glad you heard us! Thanks also for your kind words.

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 648
Joined: Mar 2010

I hope you realize that my "hearing aid" reference was in intended as a "joke." Should have used a ;-) to make that clear. We really need set of graphic emoticons on this site.

In any event, many thanks!!!

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 648
Joined: Mar 2010

Man, this system is really sensitive to dup messages. Just hit "post" more than once if there's slow response and the dups just proliferate. Sorry.

If there's an Admin around, please delete this any other dups of my you see. Thanks!

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 648
Joined: Mar 2010

One week since last treatment on 9/22.

No pain or discomfort. No skin burns as reported w/other radiation treatments.

Going #1 frequently (about the same as before the treatment) but am definitely going #2 more frequently (than before treatment). A little more urgency -- when I have to go, I definitely HAVE to go and it is difficult to hold it -- for both #1 and #2. #2 tends to be runny, but had some problems w/that before treatment. So, not sure it that's related to the treatment or not. Noticed a little blood doing #2 the other day, but nothing since then.

Interestingly, sexual function seems better than before treatment. Mr. Willy is more sensitive and easier to arouse and to achieve orgasm. Still have seminal fluid -- no dry orgasms -- but expect that will change over time.

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