My MSK Precise / SBRT Journey -- Simu... - Prostate Cancer N...

Prostate Cancer Network

3,364 members1,925 posts

My MSK Precise / SBRT Journey -- Simulation

Hope4Happiness profile image

I had my simulation procedure at MSK in NYC yesterday.

Overall, it was a long day, but much of it was waiting in between the phases of the process.

I had prepped in the morning with the Citrucel, Gas-X tabs, and saline enema, so when I arrived I was ready to roll. The first part involved the CT scan while concurrently having a mold made of my pelvic region. It involved lying on my back on a hard surface for a while and the warm mold being placed over my nether regions produced the sensation of a warm blanket, so none of this was the least bit uncomfortable.

The four skin markers / "tattoos" were next -- they were placed on each of my hips, one about two inches about my navel, and one down in the public area. Because these markers are about the size of a spec, it just feels like being poked by a very small needle for a second four times. The one down in the public area was, of course, the most sensitive, but some of that might have been psychological.

I was scheduled next for an MRI, and this is where the most delay occurred. There was an unscheduled/emergency patient that needed to use the room, so the schedule got thrown off a bit. This part is a bit tricky because you must have the MRI with a full bladder. You swig down a cup of water, wait about 15 minutes, and then go in. You are then in the machine for about 25 minutes.

Because this delay happened after I already drank down the cup of water, it was too risky to try and hold it for the length of time with a now 40-minute delay. I ended up having to let another patient take my place in line so I could urinate and then drink down the water again closer to my scheduled time.

The only problem I had with the MRI is that a couple of the images were failing due to a couple of titanium screws I have in my hip from a skateboarding injury. The titanium screws are not magnetic, of course, so they don't disrupt the MRI machine at all -- it seems they were just preventing some of the images to process.

This meant that I then had to go back for some more images in the CT machine. That additional process was only about 10 minutes long, but as I was being added to the schedule at the last moment, I had about another 15-minute wait before I could get in there. Fortunately, though, I was able to hold my urine for that length of time, so there was another long delay!

Overall, the experience was what I expected, and even with the delays, I was there for about a total of four hours. If I had to point out any discomfort it would be the loud as hell MRI machine while I was in it for 25 minutes -- the earplugs and muffs helped, but it was still blaring!

I can say enough positive comments about the MSK staff -- Man, these folks are so professional, friendly, and comforting. All these folks are seeing so many patients a day (never mind in a week), and they all still made you feel like you were the "special" patient.

10 Replies

Sounds like the fun I went through! Except a question - It's my understanding SBRT requires more accurate tracking than the tattoos used in standard 44 fraction EBRT. Does their process use MRI tracking while getting treated? or did they also put fiducials in your prostate? In other words - why the tattoos?

Also curious about what GY you are getting and what margins they are using.

I am on your same schedule at Duke. Had fiducials and space oar placed 2 days ago. 1st rad. treatment coming up on the 11th. Good luck to u!

Thank you very much for the rundown. I too am expecting to wait more than anything else. Guess I’ll have to put some good movies on my phone or bring a book.

Yes I agree the staff was awesome during my simulation. I had multiple MRIs that day due to uncooperative gas despit following the instructions carefully. Despite this I never felt I was inconveniencing them.

Thank you. I will be going through the exact same procedure at MSK at at some point. I have one question: Is your head completely out the MRI machine? I've had varying experiences with this. Thanks again.

The top of my head was out of the MRI machine. When I looked straight ahead, I was looking at the inside of the MRI machine. When I looked up toward the top of my head, I could see out the end of the machine.

Thank you. I’m claustrophobic and going for first MRI today actually. So hoping I’ll d able to handle.

Ensure you choose very relaxing music to listen to during the MRI -- that will help!

Thanks a lot! I may need sedative too.

jazzy53 profile image
jazzy53 in reply to NYC_talker

If you're claustrophobic, keep your eyes closed for the duration of the imaging. Resist the urge to open them.

You may also like...