So, there have been several references to this when I describe to people how the stereotactic radiation treatments work. It's true: It works thusly:
A couple of weeks ago I got an email notifying me of a plant sale that was happening in Portland for the Koncert for Kevin effort. As I looked through the posts below, I embarrassingly notice that I did not post about it. My profuse apologies, but I got the report from it and it was a definite success, despite my error. So, I publicly say, "Thank you!" to Barbara Blossom. Her awesomely blossoming blog is here: http://blessingsfromthegarden.blogspot.com/.
So this is the machine that's literally killing my cancer with a laser. I lie on my back and my head goes into that clamp thing. Then they put a mask on me, just like in the video below, and give me a thing to put under my knees. I asked them to just strap my arms to me since there's no place to actually put them. The mask holds my head in place quite firmly. They play the music that I selected and I just lie there and enjoy the music. The little things like arms on the side are the CT-scanners that line up the marks on the mask so that the precision is enforced. The big circular thing near the ceiling (facing down) is the one with the power of gamma rays. It zaps, but it's much quieter than the MRI. The four blasts come from different angles, and the table I'm on and the giant machine both move to adjust. The whole thing lasts about 45 minutes, just long enough to make it so that I'm a little light headed when I sit up after the treatment. Then, I go eat a little yogurt to calm the weirdness in my belly, for which the doc gave me some nausea medicine to take about an hour before the treatments, and it works great.
One more, then some scans to see if it took. Here's hoping it works! ;)
For Sheryl's comment (below) about it looking like a robot from sci-fi movies, I believe we have here the great grandson/daughter of Robbie the Robot.
So, I was just chatting with a buddy of mine and we got to trying to define what was going on. So, since we were online, we naturally called up youtube. First, I'll show you the one I'm going through. Then, there is an amazing video that shows the next generation, and it's GammaKnife® - yes, with the registered trademark, that shows some more detail in a computer animation about what is going on inside the machine. (There is a video in the related videos list of a woman's treatment that was very successful, but was an older version of the technique and it looks like it caused her a vast bunch of pain and discomfort. I'm not posting that here, but I'm not having to endure that, though it looks like it was worth if for her.)
This is video from a different institution, but the machine looks familiar. You will see a box put over the patient's face. My head is too big, so they're not using that box, but the are using the mask. You'll see what I mean. At the place I'm doing it, they have a Pandora One account, so I shared a station I made and I can listen to it while the treatment is actually going on. :D
Below is the future of the technique, probably the present in some more affluent part of the country. Pretty awesome. (Nice music and video, too!)
The next treatment is tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it. Well, maybe I'm just looking forward to being on the other side of Monday so that I can resume regaining my strength. I was feeling really good today until noon. Then it all just evaporated at once. It was really weird. I had just gone to the store for some juice and came back and listened to some music (Bartók Piano Concerto #3, some Zhou Long, and Kevin Walczyk in case you're curious). Then I watched a crappy movie, but enjoyed it. It wasn't until about 8pm that I got around to checking email. I hope I don't let it go that long again. ;) I also called the Oregon DMV. I have had several people ask about if I'm clear to drive. My doctors have all cleared me, but there seems to be a thing with Oregon law. After talking to the DMV, it seems that I'm ok. But I got another call in response to an email I sent, so hopefully I didn't ask too much. ;) I am on some anti-seizure medicine leftover from the craniotomy. I'll ask the doc tomorrow for more details.
OH, and by the way:
The efforts for the Portland benefit concert have been in high gear, but the online face is up:
Koncert for Kevin happens on June 30th at the West Hills Unitarian Fellowship, 8470 SW Oleson Road, Portland, OR (map) I'll be playing in both the Portland Jazz Connection and the Carroll Raum Swing Orchestra (careful - sound in the link) for this one. Here's the Facebook Event Page, graciously created by one of the members of the big band.
It's me, Kevin, but with a brain tumor. Disclaimer: I have a very dry and twisted sense of humor. This is a scary situation. The jokes ("tumor humor") could be a little dark from time to time. I intend to keep this rather interesting for you, but if I get a "how could you SAY that?!?" response from you, know it's just, well, I hesitate to use "gallows" humor, but I don't have better phrase for it. Enjoy, and thanks for your support through this time.