Aug 31, 2013 - 2:32 pm
Finished the last of 5 SBRT tx yesterday and am back home with lots of optimism and hope. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to go to Mayo. I had the major anxiety attack last week with the simulation MRI with mask that my brother, sister-in-law and 2 sisters all went up with me. I did so good with the first tx that my brother and sister-in-law came back to STL in the afternoon and then my brother flew back up to get us yesterday (about a 60-70 minute flight). We were told that the carotid was not a concern during the actual tx and late in the week, I might get tired then after I got home, I might have a mild sore throat but otherwise, they didn't expect much in the way of side effects. This was all in comparison to the old guy (72) in STL that laid the ground work for a permanent trach, permanent feeding tube, horrific sore throat and wanted to "give this thing a shot". Mayo said less than 1% chance of brain damage resulting from tx. No more than 5-10% chance of carotid hemorage or blockage, down the road, but chance does exist. 80% success rate with reducing or eliminating. I will have a PET in 3 months. The carotid cavity will fill with something, fluid, scar tissue, etc. This area can not be treated again but if there is an isolated recurrance in another area, I could get this tx again. Initially, chemo came up for discussion but I think they are keeping that option in their back pocket for now. I admired Mayo for calling MDAnderson to discuss proton therapy for me vs. SBRT. I felt both places truly had my best interest at heart. Mayo has proton therapy but it is not up & running yet and won't be this year. I chose SBRT because they couldn't site any advantage of one over the other, one is 5 days and one is 7 weeks. Proton therapy has the advantage of stopping at the tumor where with SBRT, it drops off quickly with little residual damage. Proton therapy does not have any long term results avaialble yet. The SBRT is like cyberknife, a bit more advanced technology but the one Mayo uses. My sisters and I even fit in a couple of movies, shopping and sightseeing. This was nothing like the 7 weeks of traditional radiation I had. In comparison, it was a walk in the park. I intend to stay positive and enjoy the next 3 months, not spend it worrying about the unknown, hopefully, I will never have to cross that bridge.
Happy Labor Day holiday to everyone and thanks for all the support to cross this hurdle!