This morning was the simulation run for the proton radiation treatment where the physicists and doctors checked their initial measurements and x-rays against their plotted path for the proton beam. I’m happy to say that all went well with only one small adjustment to the measurements. The simulation took about 45 minutes and we were done. Christine, one of the BC Cancer Agency’s technicians was there to help me through the first stage of creating the mask and today’s simulation run. She’s been a part of this program since the beginning and knows all the answers for the questions we’ve asked. Very comforting.
I am prepared now for the actual 4 days of treatment. I’m even sure that I will be able to hold my gaze on the flashing light for up to 90 seconds, the time needed for each beam to be sent into the tumor.
Friday is when treatment starts for real. I may have some “sun burning” or discoloration of the lower eyelid and permanent loss some of eyelashes but no other side effects are anticipated.
It seems that this treatment becomes sort of a show for visiting doctors from other areas of Canada and maybe other countries, as well as trainees of the BC Cancer Agency and other related fields to observe and learn of this type of cancer treatment. Triumf has celebrated their 10th year anniversary in 2005 and is still one of a handful of places that offer proton radiation treatment in the world. Not many places can split an atom to shoot protons into an eye tumor.
I have taken pictures of the Dr. Ma, Christine and two other physicists that managed the simulation today as well as myself fully set up in the chair, mask and all. I will have pictures posted once we return home.
I look forward to returning home and leaving with pleasant memories of the experience and leaving this ocular melanoma behind.