28 febrero 2017 г.
Elena Kasian underwent treatment in MIBS radiosurgery center in May 2015. Upon her return from St.Petersburg she shared her experience of staying in Pesochny and from Gamma Knife treatment with “Oncobudni” (oncology daily routine) forum.
The post is published on our site with the author’s permission:
I woke up at daybreak and decided to write a post about my stay in the clinic DTC IIBS Gamma Knife Surgery Center (St. Petersburg, Pesochny): https://radiosurgery.ldc.ru
We came to the clinic on Tuesday May 26 by noon. The territory is well-kept, green, with a complex of various buildings. There is a building for Gamma Knife and Cyber Knife and they are completing the building for proton therapy.
The personnel is very attentive, everything looks new and nice. The facility is clean, well-lit, European style and expensive equipment all around. I was checked it promptly at the reception. I filled out the papers and a questionnaire. My friend and I got accommodation in a two – bed room / ward for 2 days. The room had a floor-to-ceiling window, a wardrobe, bed-tables, a refrigerator, a small TV set, a coffee table with two arm-chairs and good Wi-Fi. The price also includes three-time meals for two (accommodation with meals – 11 thousand rubles). The listed price for the treatment was 198000 rubles. No more expenses, besides the travel expenses.
The rooms are located on the same floor as the dining and treatment rooms (including MRI and Gamma Knife itself). Everything is very convenient.
My ex-husband also came with us. He checked into a small hotel Krona – about hundred meters from the clinic (literally quite near and much cheaper). There is internet, a café there but he came to have meals with us to make us a company. Some patients with people accompanying them also check into this hotel and take care of their meals themselves (to save money), and come to the clinic only for treatment. But honestly, I would recommend patients to get their accommodation in the clinic.
Here in the dining room you can come and choose and buy food yourself (as an example, a three-course meal plus tea/fruit drink costs 150 rubles). The dining room is full of light, large, has few people. There is a separate serving table with unlimited tea, sugar, bread.
In all the hallways there are coolers with cold and hot water. There are children’s paintings hanging on the hallway walls.
The personnel are quite young. All are active, friendly and smart. I had no treatments on the first day. A doctor came to meet me in the evening, asked me all kinds of questions, filled out his check-list and answered my questions.
After dinner we went out for a walk. The area is very nice. In 15 minute walk from the clinic there is a pine and mixed forest, a beautiful lake (both for swimming and fishing). During the proper time of the year the forest has mushrooms, raspberries and wild strawberries, unfortunately it was not the season for them.
The next morning (on the 27th) they gave me a shot of 8 mg dexametazon. I was picked up from my room at 11 am. I had an MRI with contrast material (a half-hour) and after that I was sent for the frame fitting. It was the least pleasant 15 minutes of the whole day (10 minutes for the fitting the frame and 5 minutes for removing the frame after the procedure).
After fitting the frame I had MRI without contrast material (10 min.) to align and tune the software for me. Then they let me go back to my room. All this took an hour and a half. We were told to wait about 2 hours. That day there were seven treatments.
But we were in no hurry. My friend brought our lunch into the room. I managed to eat the lunch nicely without any tubes and unpleasant experience. The food is delicious; it is more of a café food, not a hospital food. By the way, I had an excellent appetite. I think I will return home a couple of kilos heavier.
At 14:15 they picked me up and took me to Gamma Knife treatment (right after it the frame was removed and my head bandaged), at 15:15 I was back in my room. The irradiation itself took 32 minutes.
The places of contact with pins/screws hurt a little, but the pain was very subdued and did not require pain-killers. I had a good sleep, but only till 5 am. It was the time of the white nights in St. Petersburg, so the sun rises early at about 3 am. On the day of arrival it was warm and sunny. The other two days it rained and got a little colder.
The next day I was told to remove the bandages and cover the sores on my forehead with a regular band-aid (with no prior treatment). And I should leave the back of my head as it was. No hair wash for three days. I saw Tanya’s photos: her frame was attached very high, almost at the hair line. While my frame was attached right in the middle of my forehead. I hope the scars will go away with the time.
Here is one more thing. I thought they would shrink the tumor and that was all. And then it will eventually dissolve. But it is not as simple as that.
In the evening when the doctor was giving me my medical record on the day of treatment, he told me about my medication for the next month and about possible complications. As it turns out the tumor tissue does not go away completely. It may only stop accumulating contract material during follow-up MRI. In rare cases it may diminish in size a little. Or, on the contrary, it may increase! And this may result in tissue necrosis. In this case they will have to be removed surgically, because they will start pressing down on the brain (where I have the sensory area and the motoric area nearby controlling speech, arms-legs movements, etc.).
Also a rapid cell breakdown may occur (that happens with breast cancer). It is important to stay alert, watch closely your general health and body reactions, urgently increase the dose of dexametazon, take diuretics, all those things.
MRI follow up with contrast material every three months during the first year. From the second year on – every six months (provided all results are normal). According to the doctor I was lucky to have a single metastasis, but there is no guarantee that were no other very small ones or that they would not grow up later on (not very optimistic, but he goes by the statistics).Therefore, MRI should be done on machines with increments of 1 mm, not 3 mm as it is done in most of our clinics. Since a metastasis the size of 2 mm may not fall into the slice.
He also said that no medication gets into the brain and deter the growth of all the lesions there. The only hope is for the immunity system and the condition of the main source of the decease. Herceptin (and other medications) inhibits the growth of metastases in the body, not in the brain. Therefore, you just have to wait and have lesions removed as necessary.
I was prescribed dexametazon in the morning:
5 days – by 8 mg (intramuscular)
5 days – by 4 mg (intramuscular)
5 days – by 2 mg (tablets)
5 days – by 1 mg (tables)
Omez one tablet before bed – 20 days;
The diuretic that I am taking (I use Trifas).
Also get followed up by the oncologist, neurologist, chemotherapist.
I feel good, no headaches. I am experiencing some problem with my right arm, from time to time I lose control over it, especially in the mornings. It gets better after dexametazon. The doctor says it is OK and it shall pass with the time.
Well, this was my report.
Tonight I am going to Moscow by a night train. I will stay with my friends there. And on Saturday I will head to Kharkov.
Once again, thanks a lot to all of you for your support!
Another stage has been passed. The treatment shall continue.