I learned today in my all-day doctor’s appointments that:
- Doctors make you wait one heck of a long time to be seen by them, and
- Radiation treatment requires a lot of upfront planning
Due to the upcoming holidays, the detailed planning for my treatment will not begin until the end of this month (Tuesday, December 30 to be exact). Regular treatments will being sometime the following week and continue for the next 5 weeks.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of the entire process for those in my family who just “have to know”:
The first phase in the planning process is CT Simulation (12/30/2008). During this time, I will lie on a table and the area to be treated will be reviewed through a CT scan device. The purpose of the scan is to pinpoint the exact location of the treatment area. Temporary marks are then placed on my leg at this time and will remain until plan verification simulation the following week. Using the data collected during CT simulation, the doctor is able to finalize and calculate the treatments.
Plan Verification Simulation
The next phase in the planning process is Plan Verification Simulation (01/05/2009). During this phase, the therapist will use the treatment plan and shift from the marks placed on the skin previously to the final centering points that have been determined by the treatment plan. X-rays will then be taken and reviewed by the physician for localization of the treatment fields. Finally, new marks will be painted on my skin and these will need to remain in place during the full course of my treatments (5 weeks). My first treatment appointment is expected to be this same week.
Dr. D’Amato Follow-Up
In my follow-up appointment with Dr. D’Amato today, I was told that I would need to get CT scans of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis (CAP) every 3 months and MRIs of my leg every 6 months, both for the next 2 years. Though this is not really a surprise, that’s one tough regime, especially given that these are the “with contrast” CT scans involving my favorite barium sulfate “smoothie” drinks. Oh well, it’s still better than chemo!