First, I get fitted for a halo device. The neurosurgeon numbs 4 areas (two on forehead and two in the back) for placement of pins. These pins are attached to the halo and keep it in place. Think of steel resting on concrete. They don’t drill in so they twist it tight. They take the MRI with this device on. All measurements are taken from this device and the images by the radiology oncologist, neurosurgeon and physicist.
After the MRI, I am still wearing the halo while Andrea and I get something to eat. The halo is worn during the entire procedure to keep my head absolutely still.
During this time, the medical team measures and determines the plan. They are also looking for changes to the current known spot, and God forbid, any new spots. I don’t think I can handle any more changes right now.
Once a plan is in place for my particular case, I go in to the gamma knife procedure. The order of patients is unknown and can change. Your guess is as good as ours. I’ll keep updating along this thread when we know more.
The procedure itself, if we are going off the last MRI, should only take about 30 minutes. There are, I believe, 128 individual radiation beams. The singular beams are not what causes the treatment which is why they can focus both deep and superficial without harming tissue “on the way” to the tumor. It’s the spot where all beams intersect that all the energy is used to utilize gamma knife. As you can imagine, changing angles and such of each beam can precisely move this focal point of radiation. Hence, the reason for a physicist to go over all calculations.
After the procedure, I remain in the room for an hour. Once the hour has passed, we have to stay in Houston for 24hrs which is why we are not leaving until Tomorrow.
As far as the procedure, it’s new so of course I am nervous, but it’s what is the down the road I am more nervous about. Since it’s already there, where else is this horrible disease? It’s a horrible mind game.
Also, it’s not a surgery as we are all familiar with. We will not know the efficacy of this treatment for at least a month. I come back in March for a repeat MRI to see, of course, that treatment worked beautifully!
For now, we just watch out for signs of complications of inflammation or bleed outs – worst headache ever, dizziness, nausea, infection and emesis.
As I was finishing this note, they took me back and fit me for my halo. I included a picture! Now we wait for the MRI.
Actually, none of this medical stuff is true. They are auditioning me for the next Iron Man.
Please pray. We love you all.