View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Treatment Update


Heb 11:1 Now, faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not. KJVR

(Heb 11:1) The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. MSG

I thought it was about time that I brought you all up to speed as to how the radiation treatments are going. As I write this, it is April 26 and Margaret is probably having a conniption because it is not on her desk in finished form. That is what happens when you have a procrastinator writing articles for the newsletter.

I had my 10th treatment today with 23 more to go. Last scheduled treatment is for the 27th of May with an appointment with the surgeon still to be scheduled before we head home. It has been a loooong winter and still a month to go. This will match our longest time away from home when we came south early the year Jeri’s dad became ill and we went to help care for him.

We came home for the weekend of the 17th to open the house, do yard work and touch base with church and friends. Neither of us wanted to come back to Portland. It was so refreshing to see and hug everyone, even if it was only for a minute or two. Your prayers and encouragement are blessings from God.

My daily “work” schedule is get up, get dressed and show up at 8:30 a.m. every morning at OHSU Radiology Department, Monday through Friday, and subject myself to radiation from a six million dollar robot that can take x-rays, CT scans and project radiation to areas within .5 millimeters. The Novalis Tx™ is also a powerful radiosurgery system that offers state-of-the-art, non-invasive treatment of malignancies and other potentially debilitating conditions, without harming nearby healthy tissue and without involving traditional surgery. It is truly an amazing machine as it rotates 360 degrees around my head. The table I lay on is also capable of rotating 360 degrees so that they can focus the beam of radiation in an infinite number of angles to treat virtually any area of the body.

It takes three technicians to prepare the patient and run the computers. Each patient has a specific program and once started the machine is on automatic and progresses through the 9 to 11 different stages that make up a program. A form fitting mask, made during the first set up appointment, is placed over my head and strapped very tightly down so that there is no way I can move my head during treatment. For the next ten minutes the machine rotates to a programmed stop, radiates for anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds, moves on to the next stop. The table I am laying on moves during three of these stops. The following web site at has a 3 minute video of how the machine operates.

On Mondays I meet with the radiology oncologist and he asks me how I am doing and he looks at my nose, up my nose and the roof of my mouth to see how I am tolerating the radiation and that nothing else is being damaged. Other than having a dry mouth from not being able to breath through my nose, the main effect of the radiation is fatigue. It hit me after the 8th treatment, which was about a week before I expected it. The doctors are telling me that it will get worse as we progress through the treatments. That is NOT what I wanted to hear! It is now Tuesday, I just returned from my 11th treatment and I am exhausted, and it is only Tuesday. I think maybe we are getting some direction as to what to pray for. Try energy. And maybe patience.

This is where faith comes into play. I have faith that God is still in control, and there is a purpose for this where His name will be glorified. He has already used many of you in prayer and encouragement for Jeri and me. I have faith that the people who worked up the computer program for the radiation protocol know what they are doing and came up with the right numbers. I have faith that every day I lay under that powerful machine there will not be some computer glitz that causes it to malfunction and burn a hole through my nose and out my jaw bone. Based on the reliability of my home computers, this is taking faith and trust to a whole new level.

Again, thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. We both greatly appreciate them.


  1. just be glad microsoft didn't write the software for that computer!

  2. Hi Mike, Hang in there! Yes, God is in control. Energy, patience, endurance...needs a whole lot of FAITH! Need I tell you! Not having walked in your shoes, I don't have the depth of your experience, but I can pray for you in it and what you are going through. And, I have and I do. Positive thinking in that the Novalis Tx won't be like your home computer and your last schedule appointment on the 27th of May will come sooner than you think. May it be so, let it be written. (Smile) God bless you, Mike, and know that you and Jeri are being prayed for. In His love, Sharon Drake

  3. Wes and Marit KalmbachApril 28, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    We love you guys!
    Wes and Marit

  4. Hi Mikey: Thanks for the update. This is a great description of what your treatment consists of. We know you are strong and your faith is strong. We are praying for you and your family at the Rayburn household.

    I am happy to report that I am having almost normal BM's for the first time in aver a month. At 72 yrs I wouldn't have thought I would be praying for normal BM's but hey you dance with the partner that brung ya or whatever. I am also gaining strength and energy (and praying for your strength and energy & patience. I can well understand some of your physical feelings. My body was so dehydrated & I was completely dominated with malaise that I was too week to care what happened. But then again, as you suggest that is where patience and faith steps in 'big time.'