Brilliant Minds on Planet Earth! Health Update . . .

Guess What? This weekend marks the end of 9 weeks of cancer diagnosis and treatment in Houston. In those weeks, I’ve completed 10 days of chemo by carrying around a small pump in a fanny pack, and 12 proton radiation treatments on the table.

Next Wednesday is the halfway point for chemo-radiation that wraps up on Easter weekend – hopefully with the desired result = eradication of the esophageal cancer!

I’m still doing well, outside of a bad cough I’ve not been able to shake for two weeks. One night I coughed almost continually on the radiation table. Bad idea . . . movement throws off the beam!

So the last three nights I asked the Lord to help keep me from coughing. I had no cough for the 15 minutes I laid there. When I got up from the table I started coughing! Very thankful for answered prayer!

I’m eating well. I’m sleeping well. And I’m exercising daily. In fact, today (Saturday and Sunday are ‘rest’ days) we headed to a lake in Woodlands, TX and spent 1.5 hours in our favorite sport – kayaking. That took our minds off the medical treadmill for a short time!

I’m very thankful to qualify for these treatments. My brother, Jerry, and sister-in-law, Pat, visited us from Inverness, Florida recently. Together, we had a thorough tour of the Cancer Center.

The technology behind a proton beam hitting the chest is amazing, and so are the machines. The beam whizzes around at almost the speed of light to separate the protons in the atom. When the MD Anderson Proton Center was built and equipped, the cost was $123,000,000.

Want to see what some of it looks like?

Proton beams are produced in a circular accelerator, or cyclotron, which has a magnetic field designed to bend the path of the particle in a circle. A beam of protons in a cyclotron will spin around and around until they get enough speed to produce a beam that’s then sent through the machinery to the exact location of the tumor being treated.

Here’s a shot of the equipment room behind the proton beam. Who figured out how this should all work? Are there brains on our planet or not? Tech and engineers must keep this all going at least 12 hours per day. MD Anderson treats a minimum of 100 patients per day.

Out in front of all this in my specific cubicle, (out of four total) I’m lying on this table (foreground) and the beam is sent to my chest tumor through the piece of equipment sticking out on the left side of the cubicle. That rotates around the spot of the tumor and zaps it from several different angles.

A physics department in the building sets up the software to guide the equipment to the right spot. They’re a bunch of brilliant dudes (we hope) working in the physics room!

Thanks for your prayers, thoughts, and support of us as we keep moving forward. This, too, shall pass!

Love to you,

Dave and Sheri

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