Friday, August 19, 2016

Gamma Knife ... Check!

Gamma Knife ... CHECK!  Well, I made it through Gamma Knife radiosurgery two days ago.  I admit, it was scary, especially after I Googled it and looked at "images."  How dumb was that?!  Alright so, some of it was helpful information, such as this graphic:

 Well-written, informative, good to know.   Thanks, Google!

Others, such as these of actual other people goin' under the Gamma Knife ... well, let's see.



Notice how I've captioned each of these.  These folks are all SMILING for the Gamma Knife photo.  I showed some of these to my 14-year-old son the night before my procedure, and it was he who said "Why are they smiling??".  And then I said I didn't know, but I thanked him for pointing that out.  Because if they're all smiling, it mustn't be that bad, right?

My hero
Then there's this guy.  I only WISH I could face cancer with this kind of intensity.  Dayum.  You rock, fellow Gamma Knife patient. YOU. ROCK!

And then there's this wimpy chick-- me.  Here they had applied the EMLA cream onto the four sites where the frame would be screwed into the skull.  No big deal, just numbing cream onto the skin.  A sort of pre-local-anesthetic anesthetic.  Once it was applied, I just sat there and Danny was smiley-chuckly.  I'm like, "What?"  I kept seeing something in my periphery, up toward the forehead, but I was thinking that I was getting glimpses of the cream.  He says, "Look at it with your phone."  So I do, and feel goofy as heck because I was unaware that there were 3x3 gauze pads stuck to the cream in each spot.  Have some mercy, nurses!  Aren't you supposed to maintain some level of dignity for the patient?  :)  For good measure, I added more goof to my facial expression.  Do not look at my old lady neck.
I told you not to look, and you did anyway!  Ewwwww!

Next, the time had come for the wire frame to be applied to my head.  Here's me and Dr. Frankenstein, I mean Dr. Shedden.  NICE guy, this neurosurgeon, (and very experienced and very gentle) but considering what he's doing to me, and I cannot get the name Frankenstein out of my head.  I mean no disrespect, Dr. Shedden, honest.
Do you SEE this contraption that is now attached to my head??  Thanks to the sedation, I'm real fuzzy on what exactly was going on. All I know is that at some point, there was intense pain, although thankfully it was short-lived.  I think that was when he was injecting the local anesthetic.  Or it may have been when the screws were being screwed into the skull.  It makes more sense that it would be the injections, which are meant to numb the area so the screws don't hurt.  Right?  I think so.  I'm also not clear on all the pieces parts that were involved.  We have the frame, and we have the box-like thingy on top of the frame, and we have the alien attachment (or astronaut attachment, take your pick.)

These two pics are just sad.  I've just finished crying.  The face is totally taking away from my own cute pajamas they let me keep on.  Danny tells me that the pictures don't do it justice ... that being there, like he was allowed to do, looked much worse.  There were tears.  There was bleeding.  Poor baby had to look away at some point.

Once it was all set up and in place, there was no more pain, and I was OK!  The whole get-up was heavy!  It actually reminded me of big football helmets on little kids.  Of course those aren't attached to the skull, but it's probably a similar heaviness.  Maybe.  And it was weird because if they worked on one area, such as one of the screws or as they attached the different helmets(?) to the frame, I felt it deep inside, like down to my teeth.  Can't say I've ever felt anything like it before.  Nor do I wish to feel it again.

At the MRI machine, they guided my head back into this cavity where my head, in its wire frame, sorta snapped into place.  There was no moving my head, even if I tried.  Which was the whole idea in the first place-- Precise radiotherapy to blast away my small, 4-5mm brain metastasis in the right frontal lobe.

After the MRI / Gamma Knife was completed, they sat me up and I asked my radiation oncologist if all went as expected.  She said yes, but added that the lesion seen on my first MRI (6 weeks earlier) had grown to 1cm in size, AND there were 2 MORE smaller lesions seen.  They "got them all."

Here are a couple of pics post Gamma Knife, but before the frame was removed.  No pain at that point, so you see some little smiles, but we were quite discouraged with the findings of growth and new lesions.

I'm two days post Gamma Knife, and I have just a little soreness that feels like a bruise (well, 4 of them.)  Now just anxiously awaiting my scans next week.

This week I received some special gifts!  The first was from a friend who vacationed in NOLA and thought enough of me to bring my favorite king cake from my favorite bakery.  The second was a beautiful bouquet of flowers from a good buddy whom I've known since nursing school (we met when I asked if I could borrow her notes from the following day because I was getting married!)  Thanks, ladies!

Oh, and since I'm including lotsa photos in this post, here's another one that makes me happy.  My baby boy, on his 14th birthday!

1 comment:

  1. Oh you brave woman!!! My hero. Keep fighting!
    thanks so much for sharing this part of your journey.