Diary of a Brain Tumor Patient's Wife

Nov. 10, 1997

Renette Davis

It looks like Paul will be having radiosurgery at the University of Illinois in Chicago on Monday, November 17 (a week from today). We were hoping he could have it at the University of Chicago since it would be more convenient, but our HMO's contract is with U of I not U of C.

The way I understand the procedure is that the neurosurgeon puts the stereotactic frame on Paul in the morning. It's similar to what he had for his biopsy. Then they do a CT scan. If the tumor is much larger, they will not be able to do the procedure, so they take the frame back off and arrange for fractionated radiosurgery instead. He would get a face mask for that and would get part of the dose one day, part another day, etc. I'm not sure how often he would go or how many days he would go for that or when it would start.

If the tumor is still small enough to do the one-shot radiation, they will spend a couple of hours figuring out exactly what angles to use, etc., and then I think they practice on a dummy, and finally in the late afternoon they do Paul. I think the actual radiation lasts about an hour or two. The radiation guy thought the one-shot radiation was preferable if it can be done since they know more how much radiation to give for it. I guess the fractionated radiation is still experimental so they don't know what the optimum dose would be, but they are doing it at U of I so he does have some experience with it.

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Created: May 9, 1999
Last updated: July 18, 2010