After a long day of wine tasting and general debauchery yesterday, I struggled to get to the hospital bright and early at 7am this morning. I threw on my running gear and showed up at the hospital in my adorable new running shorts and a spiffy ponytail. Then I realized I didn't have to check in until 9am and slept in the waiting room on Paul's shoulder for an hour.
The Cyberknife team had already used my MRIs and CTs to develop a treatment plan yesterday. The plan for today was to radiate the tumor pressing on my lumber spine spanning L3-L4. 10 years ago treating this tumor would have meant a major surgery, at least a week of hospital time, months of physical therapy, steroids and pain medications. Surgery after surgery like that is what really tears apart the bodies of people with NF2. It's not just the tumors, it's being cut open repeatedly to take them out. I feet blessed to be treated by radiation therapy today rather than facing a serious spine surgery in a year.
So today Dr. Adler came and had me lay down in the mold we made of my body on Tuesday which had been positioned on the bed of the Cyberknife. They made sure I was comfortable, even gave me a blanket, and told me to just rest and stay still. The Cyberknife is a huge robotic arm that rotates in increments all around the target area during the prescribed treatment time. By constantly rotating but maintaining a point of contact with the tumor the radiation is concentrated as needed, sparing the healthy surrounding tissue unecessary damage. What is surprising is just how big the head of the laser is, and that thing gets very close to your head and swings around every which way. It was interesting to watch, and after about an hour it suddenly moved back into it's starting position and turned off. Dr. Adler came in and said that's it for today! I felt absolutely no pain or discomfort at all.
I guzzled some water as we drove away from the hospital and had Paul drop me off 3 miles from the hotel. I ran back in 30mn, making good time despite having just had radiation therapy! I actually tripped at one point, but just got back up and dusted myself off, then kept on running...