Thursday, February 24, 2011

A tour of Gantry 1

At the Proton center here, there are two machines running each day. Every one of Summer's treatments has been in Gantry 1, and today I stuck around a little longer than usual after they put her under to take pictures and watch the process.

FAIR WARNING: some of these pictures may be difficult to look at. They're not gory or graphic by any means, but there are pictures of Summer under anesthesia and wearing her mask, strapped onto the table. Despite everything she's been through in this room, she is never afraid to enter, so that tells you she has no idea that any of this is happening.

This first photo was taken on a different day, but nurse Rachel is on vacation now so we had to get one in early. Each treatment begins with Rachel walking Summer and I down to the gantry.

Summer's favorite part of treatment is visiting with the dancing turtle, who dances to Funky Town:

This is the gantry team - the people who run the actual treatment:

This is Summer's form-fitting mask. It helps to position her head exactly the same way every day. Unfortunately we can't bring it home with us because it absorbs some of the radiation. It would be interesting to keep and look back at to see how tiny Summer was at this point:

In these next photos, Summer has just been put under anesthesia. She's sitting on the table and they're fitting the mask on. Click on the photo to open a larger version.

Once they have the mask on and Summer all wrapped up and strapped to the table, they move the table out into position so it's hanging out inside the machine. Here, the control reads "Target position reached":

This is the part of the machine the actual radiation beam comes out of. The plastic piece on here is designed and contoured specifically to treat Summer's tumor. The divots controls how far the rays will go before stopping. 

She has three sets - one for each of the treatment fields. Here's the next one that will replace the one shown above when they move on to the second field:

These are the monitors in the radiation room - you can see images of Summer's head on the two monitors on the far left.

But, nobody is in the room while the actual treatment is happening. They all move out to this control room where they can monitor Summer's vitals and see everything that's going on in the gantry.

Here's a close-up of the monitor that shows Summer, all wrapped up and ready to go:

Normally, I leave the gantry as soon as Summer goes under and I lay her on the table. It was very interesting to see the whole prep process. I wish I had asked to stay and watch sooner! It's hard to believe tomorrow will be her last day.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting and amazing, but oh, how I wish she didn't have to do this.