Monday, 6 July 2009

The Ultimate Zap

Steve had his last radiotherapy session today - the ultimate zap. I was allowed into the suite where the treatment took place whilst the machine was being set up. Instead of the ordinary X-ray machine I thought I was going to see, it turns out that Steve has been zapped with electrons produced by a linear particle accelerator - a huge machine which can be moved, tilted and adjusted minutely to ensure the accurate placement of the electron stream, guided by a grid of laser beams. Really quite amazing. Whilst the Linac was doing its job, the staff kept an eye on Steve - just to make sure he kept completely still - via a remote control camera linked to a couple of laptops in the safety zone, some distance away.

The radiotherapist was pleased with the condition of his skin (the cream is doing its job) so there was no need to see the nurse after treatment as originally instructed. Steve will have a check up in about a month's time to make sure there are no lasting effects, other than to stop Leo spreading into the vulnerable "port" areas. However, Phase I of the treatment is effectively over.

Phase 2 - chemotherapy - starts tomorrow. For the next 4-5 months, life will revolve around a 21 day cycle, going to hospital to take Cisplatin at the start of every cycle and Velcade (the trial drug) twice a week for two weeks, followed by a week without drugs. The calendar is marked up and we're ready to go. I won't pretend it's not an anxious time - until it happens, no one can predict how Steve will react in terms of side effects, or whether the Velcade will work as well on mesothelioma as it has done on myeloma. Follow the blog to find out.

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