Monday, 21 May 2012

Radiotherapy in Surrey, UK - Day 1

Today was the day that I started my radiotherapy treatment for my Ledderhose. We stayed the night at the Travel-Lodge in Guildford and then headed off to Surrey Hospital this morning. We found our way to the cancer centre which is where I was having the treatment. On arrival I checked in and took a seat. 

Basically bang on time Dr Shaffer came out to meet me and I went into an examination room. He then remembered that my wife is doing a run and asked how things were going and asked me how my foot was and of course nothing had changed. He said how he didn't feel he was telling me anything new at my last appointment and so I explained about this blog and he said he might have a look.... so hello if you do. 

He then went on to make some marks on the bottom of my foot in permanent pen, first this was to outline the diseased tissue and then a second time further away to give a margin to make sure that also diseased tissue was hit with the radiation. He then said he would make it more artistic once I said I was going to take a picture and put it on the blog and I think you will agree he did a great job! 

Picture of my foot - inner ring is diseased area and outer ring is margin to ensure all bad tissue is targeted. This was basically all I saw of Dr Shaffer and that was all that was required. I was then taken into another room where a very helpful nurse talked me through what would happen and explained that it would be best to rub E45 on it as it is likely to get dry and E45 has no perfume or other rubbish and so they recommend it. 

She then asked if I have a family history and was surprised when I said no. She has been doing this procedure for 6 months, 2 to 3 Dupuytren's patients a week and all have had some sort of family history. I was also the first Ledderhose patient that she has treated. I then had a 40 minute wait in which we had breakfast at the hospital restaurant which was cheap and it tasted ok. 

I was then fitted with a lead plate. This is shown below, they matched the circle up to check that it was the same size as the margin and it was spot on so they filled that line in as shown in the second picture below. Then the machine was lined up to check it was an ok fit and some physicists were called because it is harder to get it snug against a foot compared to a hand and they wanted to check the dose would not be changed too much. The guys came and did their calculations and all was ok.  

I then had another 30 minute wait whilst the machine was set up and everything was sort. I went back into the room put my feet up, they put the lead plate on, lined the machine up and off it went. 

My foot resting and ready for radiotherapy

The radiation machine

The machine being lined up with my foot 

Zap, my foot being treated. 

Above are a couple of pictures of the machine and it in action on my foot. The process was, as expected, completely harmless, no pain, slight pressure because they have to ensure there is good contact between the machine and my foot to make sure I get the correct dose. The actual treatment part took all of 5 minutes and then I was booked in for the rest of the week. 

Now all I have to do is go back every day this week and that is it for another 8 weeks when I have to go back again. 

Overall the experience was very good. Dr Shaffer was very good and I am not just saying that because he might look on here. All of the other staff were very professional and everything went very smoothly and very quick and I couldn't have been happier about it.

Fingers crossed that it does something and I am off to get some E45 and I have to make sure I don't wash off the permanent pen so it can be used to line up the plate again for the rest of the week.