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Cyberknife Graduation Day

Posts: 34
Joined: Apr 2011

I completed my last (of five) CyberKnife sessions today and I was valedictorian out of a class of one. The Cyberknife office is a one hour drive each way but the Colorado mountains are always beautiful scenery
Preparatory daily protocol involves a low residue fiber diet, Gas-X on the night prior, and a Fleet enema prior to the appointment. I was advised that not following the diet could add as much as one-half hour to each session but I had no problems drinking an early cup of coffee.

I arrived at the CyberKnife Center in my street clothes and then lay on a table. Pants were lowered to eliminate the zipper being in the way. I was given a rubber ring on which to hold on my chest so that my arms did not sink too low. The Cyberknife VSI robot is the most recent model. No mold was used for my legs which would reduce my involuntary movement as listed on other accounts. I was required to verbally state my name, DOB, reason for the session (prostate) and type of music to be piped in via the Pandora system. Note: Seems like CK patients have a bias toward Enya or Windham Hill artists!!
It took about 5 minutes for the radiation techs to properly position me and the CyberKnife computer to locate and track the four gold fiducials which had been inserted about a month prior. Doctors / radiologists were available but not at each session.

There is a large room containing the VSI robot which is connected to the adjustable bed and two imaging devices mounted from the ceiling. A control room is located adjacent and monitored by two techs..The CyberKnife room and the patient is seen on four separate cameras along with a speaker for music. If I needed any assistance, I had to yell or wave my hands.

Once the music started, the robot starting moving about. It moved fairly rapidly and smoothly with a low buzzing sound and positioned itself in a wide variety of positions to deliver the dosage to the prostate from dozens of different angles.

Each session lasted 25-35 minutes, a reduction from older machines. Total dosage was 35 gy at 700 centigray per session. There were no sensations felt although I thought that I felt a buzz-tingling during session # 3. I'm told it was psychological but I won't argue the point
Because I had previous infections after the biopsy and fiducial placement, my first three sessions were M-W-F. Sessions 4 and 5 were on the following T-W due to the July 4 holiday. I had no side effects after sessions 1 and 2. After session 3, I had moderate burning, frequency-urgency (every 20 minutes) and very slow flow. I had started Flomax three days before session one and the dosage was doubled after session 4.

I was given my walking / graduation papers, told to get a PSA after 3 months and return for a consult. This is self-pay since Kaiser of Colorado would not acknowledge this procedure. DaVinci was my second choice but there are complications due to 1) medical history 2) Kaiser surgeon with only 250 procedures.

FYI, I am age 62, diagnosed March 2011 with Gleason 6, 2/12 cores, 10%, T1c, PSA 14.2. My PSA has been between 6-8 over the last 15 years with two negative biopsies in 1996 (18 cores).
Thanks for all the well wishes and hopefully this post will be informative to others considering CK. Even with the complications, I'd do it again.

lewvino's picture
Posts: 1007
Joined: May 2009

Congrats on completing your treatments. We look forward to hearing your results when you get your PSA Test


Kongo's picture
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010


Congrats and well done. Your account brought back many memories of my own experiences a year ago. My sessions were each 42 minutes but it sounds like you may have had a more recent model machine. Sorry about the self pay but like you, I would have done the same thing.

Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery from your burning and looking forward to your PSA results soon.



VascodaGama's picture
Posts: 1780
Joined: Nov 2010

Congratulations for this mile stone of your treatment. I whish you a continuous good recovery.
Thanks for sharing your experience with CyberKnife.

All the best.

Posts: 34
Joined: Apr 2011

Kongo et al,

Thanks particularly to you and others on the site for the encouragement and helping me get the courage to seek the Cyberknife treatment. Boiling it all down (I attended Purdue, home of the Boilermakers), my choice was made simple as long as I could afford it. Had one CK provider not offered a 75% discount, I today would be wearing a catheter and possibly be on a ventilator (due to a previous embolism according to my urologist). I'd much rather be experiencing the burning, frequency and urge for a week or so (hopefully) compared to chancing the outcome of surgery or weeks of radiation, co-pays and daily 100 mile drives.
Although I have reviewed many posts on this site, how are your PSA scores currently doing and is there anything else I should be doing while I wait for the nadir? Does it hurt to get a PSA after 2 months instead of 3?
Thanks again to the "CK club". Having your support is indeed priceless.

Kongo's picture
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

Hey, JJ. I also went to Purdue (BS, ME 1978).

I get PSA drawn every three months as part of the clinical study protocol I am in. I don't think 2 months would be a bad thing but there is a lot happening within the prostate especially right after radiation and PSA is likely to bounce around a bit at first.

A year out and my PSA was 0.8 but am waiting for a result to come in now. PSA bounces are fairly common and about 30% see some amount of PSA bounce after treatment. Near term failures for Gleason 6 is virtually non existent so I wouldn't sweat it too much. The most common side effect is what you are experiencing with a slight burning and urination but that almost always passes within a few weeks. You might want to try some Advil to help with the inflammation which is the source of the symptoms. Your bout with the infection might also be aggravating the situation.

You might also want to consider some diet changes as you go forward.

If you ever wish to chat, just send me an email through this site and we can set something up.

Go Boilers!


Posts: 34
Joined: Apr 2011

During my "education period" after dx of my PCa, most information led me to believe that a diet change was very helpful but not mandatory. My childhood diet was full of fat. But,for much of my adult life, I have eaten primarily fruits, veggies, turkey, fish and little red meat. Many were surprised that such a healthy eater and exerciser like me would get a PCa diagnosis. It can hit any male although there are some ethnicities more prone. Now, I am focused on reducing dairy and red meat and trying to buy only organic.
I am interested in receiving Kongo's QOL matrix. My e-mail is JJPhare@gmail.com. I am still primarily a PU booster although I transferred to and finished up at IU in 71. Don't hold that against me.

Posts: 739
Joined: Mar 2010

Congratulations, JJ!

As I've reported elsewhere, my PSA scores have been all over the place. Fortunately, the trend has been generally downward but there have been some disturbing spikes.

Taking the 1st PSA test 2 months after treatment may give you a higher score than waiting an additional month due to irritation to the prostate following treatment. However, taking it at 2 months won't "hurt" and if the score is too high to your liking, you can always take another one a month later to double check.

But, as my radiologists points out, taking PSA tests too frequently doesn't really do you much good because we're looking to reach a nadir of around 0.4 w/in 4 years. So, it's the long term trend that we're after.

Keep us posted and good luck!

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