A telehealth call

Yesterday we had a telehealth call with a specialist in Hamilton, where they are able to do cyberknife radiation. We went to the regional clinic in St. Catherines (about a half hour drive) to have this call. On the other end was the radiation oncologist that does cyber knife and a neurosurgeon. They did a great job explaining the process of cyber knife and highlighting that surgery (e.g. craniotomy) doesn’t make any sense. They described her tumor as small – which I thought was interesting. I cannot imagine a 2cm thing in the brain as being small.

I had heard of the Ontario Telehealth Network, but I thought it was mostly to give remote communities access to specialists – thereby avoiding the need for expensive travel for consultations. It never occurred to me that they would use it between St. Catherines and Hamilton (about a 45 minute drive). For us in Welland, the cancer center in Hamilton is about an hour drive. The good thing is, they have setup all the followup to be in one visit.

Now that mom has consented to the cyberknife, they want to move quickly – which will help her get into the #papmet trial sooner. We were told quickly a week and a half ago, so we were hopeful but not holding our breath. At 3pm (our consult was at 11am), we got a call. They have an opening for today (Wednesday). So today we will go up to Hamilton and mom will have the mask made, and then they will do CT scans and MRIs with the mask for the simulation (I’m not sure I’m calling it correctly – but apparently they do the mask CT and MRI all in the same place). This will get more detailed pictures and more current pictures of the tumor. The doctors will then look and these and make a plan / program for the cyber knife.

Sometime the term is confusing, as cyber knife is a brand of Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). It does not involve any incisions. There are usually very few side effects.

The initial treatment may be one session or three sessions – depending on how things go with the simulation and if they find any micro lesions when they do the more detailed scans. From now on, mom will be following every 2-3 months with the doctor in Hamilton – with follow up brain scans.

Once we know the dates of the cyberknife treatment – we are expecting next week – then we can inform the folks doing the PAPMET trial, and they can then start with what is needed to ensure she can get started 14-days after radiation.

We are moving forward. I think today will be the day that things really start to feel real. When the logical brain takes a break and the emotional brain breaks through – maybe. We’ll see.


  • Becky

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