June 07, 2011

Gamma knife a go

Today I met Dr Sandra Vermeulen, the "gamma knife gal." She knows a friend of mine well, and Dr V used my friend as as example of how well people can respond to brain mets radiation treatments. Dr V even explained about whole brain radiation (WBR) and why she felt gamma knife was best in this circumstance.

Together Dr V and I ruled out whole brain radiation at this time. The three lesions are very small and unless they have grown significantly since the MRI, they are good candidates to be zapped by gamma knife. Dr V's group has helped more than 3,000 people with gamma knife..

The prep includes inserting four pins, one each in the corners of my head. (This is done with Ativan for sedation and could include Versed, twilight sedation, if I prefer.) Then they send me to an MRI to be sure the mets haven't moved or grown since the last MRI. Next they check the plan to be sure the rads go in at the proper angles, then the actual treatment, and last, the removal of the frame and pins.. Last they de-access my power port and I go home. The whole thing takes about four hours and my only prep is nothing by mouth from midnight the night before.

I can't say I'm excited, but I am pleased to know that this is all done at one time. We scheduled a date, in the reasonable hope that the insurance company will approve it, and then a few days later, Rik and I can go to Toronto as planned.

I really liked Dr V. She drew pictures, answered all my questions, and spent about an hour with us. Her staff were also terrific, just what I'd expect of people working at the former Providence building. Plus any doc who introduces him or herself as FirstName LastName and can handle the same from me is a keeper.

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