After much deliberation, the decision was made. Proton therapy it is!
I think we spent a total of five and a half hours at the proton center yesterday. Luckily, it is a really nice place and very peaceful. They even play the local Christian radio station over their intercom.
We spoke to the nurse practitioner for around an hour about our concerns. She answered all our questions. (We were supposed to see the doctor, but not on the "schedule" and therefore, forgotten, until I went to the desk to remind them I was supposed to see the doctor. By then, he was gone for the day.)
She showed us pictures of the CT scan of my chest with the areas that would be "hit" by the radiation and at what doses. We were pleased to see that all the remaining tumor was well covered with radiation, while much (but not all) of my heart and lung is spared.
The clincher for me was when the NP explained that they had considered drawing up an IMRT (the other type of radiation we were considering) treatment plan to compare with the proton plan but it was clear to them that proton therapy was clearly the better choice. Dr. C has been a radiation oncologist for a long time. And I believe if it had been a "close call" or a "toss up" he would have drawn up the IMRT plan.
So, I had my first proton treatment last night. I will have a treatment every Monday through Friday for the next four weeks. For the ten to fifteen minutes I am laying on the table I will be praying that God shields my heart and lung.
On the way home last night, Don and I talked about being a "pioneer" as a lymphoma patient receiving proton therapy. That hopefully, me receiving this treatment will pave the way for it to become accepted as "standard of care" and that many more patients will receive the treatment in the future for their lymphomas.
This morning, I was thinking about those who have gone before me in the treatment of lymphoma. Not too many years ago, Rituxin, one of the drugs I received during my chemo treatments (and will continue to receive, every six months, for the next two years) was not "standard". Thankfully, now it is. And it played/will play a hugely important role in killing my specific type of cancer and keeping it dead. I am SO GRATEFUL for those willing to take a chance on something new. It has and will benefit me greatly in the course of my treatment.
Thanks also to those of you praying for us yesterday. It means a lot to us!
Peace on Every Side
2 weeks ago