N8KXM goes to Bloomington, IN

posted 11/21/13

As many of you already know, Lou - N8KXM is following in the footsteps of Bob - N0BIX and Loyd - K8EI in having his prostate problem taken care of by using Proton Therapy.

He is staying in his camper near the treatment center in a campground that is officially closed for the season, but has given him special consideration since he is undergoing treatment.

He is the only camper in the park presently.

He has daily treatments at the Proton Therapy Center in Bloomington through the week and is able to spend most weekends at home, about 3 hours away.

This week Keith - WA8ZWJ went over to visit with Lou and he got quite an education while he was there.


Here's Lou's camper in the campground...


Another view...


Yogi Bear is across the street from Lou's camper.


Lou said this is where Don - KE8NK, alias Da Bear, must spend some time!



This is also across the street from Lou's camper.


Lou is screwing up his face because he mentioned photos at dinner so I had to take a picture!


Here is where Lou spends a lot of his time.


The next morning we went to the Proton Therapy Center for Lou's daily treatment.


Lou is getting into position.


This body wrap is especially made for each patient.  It is to immobilize the patient during the treatment.


The large tube on the left is where the protons come in.  The brass ring on the end helps focus the treatment area.


The plastic item on the end is another portion of the focusing for the treatment.


A robotic arm moves the bed into position for the treatment.


He is now basically in position.


The boxes on the wall house the xray equipment that will make minor adjustments to exactly position his for the treatment.


They are getting ready to do the xray.  It is time for Keith to leave the area.


These two cameras show Lou as they prepare for the treatment.


Scientific data on one of the screens...


Just like that the treatment is done.  They actually shoot protons twice.  Once on the left and once on the right with the same fine alignment procedure each time.  Here is his treatment team.  L to R - David, Matt, Debbie and Ashley

The folks there are quite kind.  They were interested in answering any questions I had and do a great job of taking care of Lou.  Very nice folks!  Oh yes, they wanted to make sure I got to see everything too.  It was like "Oh, you will want to see this!" and "If you look here you can see that!" and I do appreciate that very much!  My visit was quite a nice experience!


We went back to the camper for a while and then returned to the Proton Therapy Center for a tour of the machine shop.  On the way there we passed the computer center where the proton treatments are controlled.

Computer Center...


Just outside the machine shop is the brass bar stock that is made into the focusing devices that they use.


Here is a storage area for the plastic stock used in the focusing devices.


These pieces of brass have been cut from the bar stock and are ready to be processed.


This is a CNC machine drilling a plastic piece to meet specifications.


Lou is looking at the computer display for one of the CNC machines that is running.


Here is what he was looking at.  The numbers on the left are the target depth.  The numbers on the right is the progress of that drill position.

Notice the bottom number with the minus in front is still drilling.


This is a video display of the first part of general drilling to get the plastic near specifications.


This is a video display of the second part of the drilling that brings the plastic part to final specifications.


This is a video display of the number of holes that have to be drilled for this particular plastic device.


More brass already to cut for focusing in storage.


This is a sample of the three basic sizes of focusing devices.  Closest to you is the one used for prostate.  The middle one is used for general body treatments.  The third is for head treatments.  For prostate treatments they need two of each - one for each side.  For body treatments anywhere from as few as two to as many as five are typical.  For head treatments usually 15 different ones are used.  These are specifically made for each and every patient!  The brass for prostate treatment weighs about 30 pounds!


This device is used to check the accuracy of the drilling of every device before it is used - brass and plastic.


This is what the inside of a typical prostate focusing plastic looks like.  It mirrors the shape of the prostate and helps prevent the protons from going any further into the patient.


Door to door time for each treatment session is about 30 minutes.  Here's Lou after our tour of the machine shop!


This is how Lou sets of the computer display, mouse and keyboard when he is transferring vinyl LP's to digital so they can be later recorded onto CD's


This is a display of the software in the process of recording an LP to the hard drive.


Recording the LP's in preparation for making the CD's is one of the ways Lou is spending his time during the long days between treatments.

I want to thank Lou for inviting me to come over and learn all about his treatment process.  I had a great time and hope to go back in a couple of weeks.

There are a total of 45 treatments for Lou and he hopes to finish up on December 30th.


Thanks to Lou for sharing!  Best wishes!

Respectfully submitted, Keith - WA8ZWJ


Added 12/6/13

Lou has sent along some snap shots of today's snowfall!


Hi Guys, I was out for a bit and took a few pictures.

Pulled the slide room in.  Makes it a little cramped but seems warmer.


We have about 5" and it's still coming down...




73, Lou

PS: Jerry and Libby wish you were here  :-)


December 21, 2013

Lou has sent some more photos...he says:

Decided to see what the Water Fall looked like today.
I took a walk in between down pours and took a few shots.
There is water running everywhere. Resulting in a bunch of water to photograph.
The camera shutter speed was a bit too slow (read cheap), so excuse the blurry photos.

This is the start of the Big Falls...


Big Falls...


Twin Falls...



Twin Falls...another angle...


It has been raining since about 10pm last night.

73 .....Lou


Lou's final treatment was on Monday, December 30, 2013.

He has sent along a few photos from that final trip to the treatment center in Bloomington.


Here's the bell poem...

The day is finally here, and you've come so far,
Rejoice and be happy, accept who you are.

Live every day with purpose and aim,
Decide what you want, make living your game.

Your treatments have ended, you've done very well,
It's time to celebrate by ringing that bell!


Lou's last treatment is done!  Yee haw!


Here's Lou ringing the bell!


Thanks to Lou for sharing his shots!


Congratulations to Lou and good luck!