Underwent kidney tumour with metastases in mediastinum using CyberKnife
Mārtiņš underwent kidney tumour with metastases in mediastinum using CyberKnife
“In 2013, it turned out I had a tumour in the right kidney – clear cell carcinoma – and this kidney had to be removed. The doctor promised that everything would be fine, I only had to undergo check-up once a year.
Last spring, I underwent all necessary check-ups, but in August I had dry cough, which was very disturbing and didn’t pass. I consulted a pulmonologist, who immediately referred me to X-rays. Apparently, there was something suspicious in the X-rays, because the doctor immediately referred me to a CT examination. Unfortunately, it showed that there were two tumours in the lungs. I was referred for further examination to the Centre for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases. One tumour was located in the upper lobe of the lung, the second was in the mediastinum, and it was virtually impossible to reach. I was offered two solutions: observe the tumours or remove at least one tumour which was accessible.
In October I had the surgery; doctors found out that the tumour was malignant: metastasis of the renal clear cell carcinoma. Doctors automatically assumed that the tumour in the mediastinum was the same. It was impossible to reach it, even using radiation therapy or traditional chemotherapy. When I contacted my oncologist, I received a prescription for a drug I had to take. It turned out that it was the same chemotherapy, only in tablets. I had side effects: fluctuations in my blood pressure, persistent diarrhoea, haemorrhagic bleeding… My attending physician prescribed me alternative medicine; unfortunately, it also caused persistent diarrhoea, bloating, and very high blood pressure. My vision deteriorated, my hair began to fall out, I had weakness and pain in the heart region.
Since I felt so bad, I started looking for other possible treatments. But no one could offer me anything. After that I soon had another CT scan which relieved that another tumour had appeared in the lung… I was desperate at the time; it seemed there was no hope left. Until I read the sentence in IEVA magazine: “If someone said before that a tumour in the head can be overcome only by applying a precisely directed beam of rays, it would have seemed like science fiction.” It was the first time I heard about the so-called cyberknife, and a month later I read more about it in IEVAS Veselība magazine. I immediately contacted doctor Māris Mežeckis, radiation therapist of Sigulda Hospital, and we agreed to meet. After hearing my story, the doctor advised to undergo further examinations – for example, positron emission tomography (PET) in the Centre of Nuclear Medicine MedVision and computed tomography. Fortunately, the examination showed that the second tumour is not malignant; but malignant tumors can be treated using CyberKnife – there was hope it would be possible to remove it.
Some preparation was necessary before the procedure – markers had to be placed near the tumour. They are small microscopic golden spirals which remain in the body. They were placed inside my body during bronchoscopy under anaesthesia.
Preparation for the procedure was scheduled a few days later in Riga in DiaMed clinic. There were five or six doctors in the room where it all took place, and there was also a large bag with balls inside. When I was lying inside this bag, it got harder, and when I got up, it kept the shape I was lying in. This bag was taken to Sigulda, as it was adapted to my body, and I was lying in it during all five procedures. Before the procedure I had to wear a jacket with a device that allowed the equipment to orient itself due the rhythm of breathing. I had to lie still in the bag – and the shape – intended for me, and in case of sudden cough or sneezing I had to raise my right hand, and then the doctors would come to me. The most difficult part was to lie still and not to fall asleep, and not to be afraid of the robot moving around. The robot adapts to breathing to catch the right angle where the tumour is located, and then “shoots”. The “shots” were impossible to feel.
I could stand up after the procedures, I had no dizziness. I will have to undergo a CT examination in about three months, and PET examination in six months to see if we were able to stop the tumour.”
Radiosurgery procedure was completed in August 2016.