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August 06, 2005

treatment room #1


Yesterday Sandy went to have her mask fitted and xrays taken in the room with the actual radiation machine from which she will receive her treatments. The huge radiation machine you see in the photo above will kill all the cancer cells in her brain. Normal cells will be damaged at the same time but they will have the ability to repair themselves. Cancer cells will not be able. Sandy will receive 157 MUs with a widge of 15 on the left and 99 MUs on the right. MU stands for Monitor Units. Sand will be in the treatment room for 15 minutes but the radiation will last less than a minute.

St. Luke's Radiation Oncology Department is becoming our second home and the staff are our new friends. The two women in the photo are Mary and Penny. They are the radiation therapists who will be administering Sand's treatments. After helping Sand on to the table and in her mask, the therapists will close the eight inch thick door and leave Sand alone with her thoughts. They retreat to the monitoring console outside that is equiped with a video link and intercom so they can view and communicate with Sand. She is in there by herself only a short two or three minutes.

Sally, the nurse, was very helpful and informative. She gave Sand some cream for her to use when she loses her hair and her scalp becomes dry and irritated from the treatments. Sally also told us Sand's official diagnosis. Sandy has an Astrocytoma Grade IV which is also known as a Glioblastoma Multiform or simply called a GBM.

Sally cautioned us not to search for too much information on the web because much of it is old, misleading, or completely wrong. There is one site that has very good information and that is the National Brain Tumor Foundation in Oakland, California. Another one is the National Brain Tumor Association. They have many nice brochures in PDF format that can be downloaded.

You can click on the smaller photos for a larger view.

Posted by jhyden at August 6, 2005 07:10 AM