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Welcome to Radiation Therapy at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics


[ music ] Welcome to Radiation Therapy at the
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. You will find us on the Lower Level of the Pomerantz Family Pavilion at the corner Hawkins Drive and Melrose
Avenue across from Kinnick Stadium. Please
park in Ramp 4 or use Valet Parking. If you need help with finding your way
just ask one of our Service Ambassadors in the red coats or ask any hospital employee. Once
inside, you can take the stairs or Elevator M to
the lower level and turn left. Follow the signs to the reception desk.
Welcome I’m Tim Waldron, a medical physicist
here at UI Hospitals and Clinics and I’m Ami Gaarde, nurse manager of our
clinic. Join us as we take you on a tour of our department. Radiation Therapy is one of the most
common treatments for cancer. It uses high-energy particles to destroy or damage cancer cells. The radiation in the beams destroys the
ability of the cells to grow and multiply. Radiation therapy works on both
cancer cells and normal cells. While normal cells
recover quickly, cancer cells are permanently
destroyed. The goal of radiation therapy is to give the tumor the most
radiation while protecting the surrounding healthy tissues as much as possible. Please arrive 15
minutes early when you come for your first appointment.
You will check-in at our reception desk and will be asked for
identification and other information needed for your
appointment. You will fill out a health history form that will become a part of your personal
electronic medical record, called “MyChart.” If you are already signed up for MyChart, you can fill out the form before you
arrive. By signing up for MyChart you can see all your visit and medical records on a
computer or other mobile device. MyChart allows you
to communicate with us by sending messages and appointment requests to your treatment team electronically. Your first
appointment will give your health care team the important information they need to
plan your care. We will take your blood pressure and
other vital signs, then review your medicines and give you a thorough check-up.
Radiation Therapy will be explained by a nurse and a doctor who will answer any questions you may have. Our highly skilled nurses and
board-certified doctors will care for you. Since we are a
teaching hospital, a doctor called a “resident” may visit
you too. These doctors are training to specialize
in Radiation Therapy and are always supervised by our staff
doctors. After your check-up, you and your health
care team will talk about the best treatment for
your type of cancer. If treatment is recommended we will have
you sign a consent form. Before you leave, we will work with you to
make an appointment for your “simulation>” Simulation is the scanning needed to
create your individualized radiation treatment plan. I had a seizure. I don’t remember too much about what went on. It was on a
Monday, February 4th, and on February 8th, I had surgery here. Everyone is so kind. Working with all the people here and
listening to them… They told me exactly what to do, all the different things I needed to
do. People here are so compassionate. So don’t be afraid,
because they’ll explain it to you. And they’re with you right there. We think of everyone here as family. I would trust them with my life again
just because we have so much trust here. [ music ] To help you keep still during your scans, we usually fit you with a custom-made mold or a mask that you’ll use throughout your
treatment. At this appointment you will also talk with your nurse about the possible
side effects of radiation treatment. At your simulation you may receive a CT, MRI, or a PET scan that will show us your
cancer location. These scans show your radiation therapy
doctors the size of the tumor and where it is, so they can plan your treatment. Our
scanners create 3-D pictures of the tumor and surrounding healthy tissue. These are needed to create a treatment
plan especially for you. After scanning, planning usually takes about a week, but
may be shorter or longer depending on how soon you need to be treated and how complex the treatment is. Before you leave, will work with you to
schedule your next appointment, called “verification” which were used to confirm your treatment plan. Your treatment planning team of a doctor, physicist, and dosimetrist will plan your treatment. A dosimetrist figures out the
best way to arrange the radiation beams to destroy your cancer cells while
avoiding healthy tissue. The dosimetry staff works closely with
our physics faculty and your doctor to determine the exact
dose of radiation to reach the tumor. Every step of the
treatment planning process is always double-checked. Sometimes our
patients have questions about the bills that they received during treatment
planning. For example, you may see a bill for a day
you were not here. That’s because treatment planning is
often done when patients are not in the clinic. If you have any questions about your
bill, please speak to our certified billing
staff here in the clinic. [ music ] My family doctor sent me to a specialist
and he, ah, found some things that he wasn’t too happy about. He says, “You need to go to Iowa
City.” He said, “I know some doctors there,” he says they’ll– they’ll find out what’s going on, they’ll take care of you.
And on the day that I came here, they told me what was going on.
I had a malignant tumor in my parotid gland,
which is your saliva gland, so once the surgery was done, then came the setup for the radiation
and chemo treatment that I got. Before all the treatments and that
started, each time I came up here I was more and more concerned. I got a
little bit more afraid, let’s say, because of all that I
was learning, but at the very same time I became more and more confident,
just the way everyone responded, the way everyone
talked, everyone was so positive. The expertise of the
people here – just incredible. And that was it everyone, no matter what
doctors I dealt with, it was like they all knew
all about me. I have been totally confident the whole stretch. I had that confidence during the treatment,
I have that confidence in my future, and it’s, it’s thanks to…
thanks to the professionals here they instilled that confidence in me. I have felt that I could not have come to a better place
in the world [ music ] When you return to our clinic for your
verification, you may need to change into a hospital gown, based on where your tumor is located. We have private changing rooms and
lockers for your personal items. After verification, the receptionists will
work with you to schedule your treatment appointments. Treatment days are Monday through Friday
from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Most treatments last between 15 and 30
minutes and patients receive treatment anywhere
from one to eight weeks. A board-certified radiation therapist is
the only person who is able to deliver radiation treatment. Each day they will
place you in exactly the right position to get treated. If they make marks on your
skin, please don’t wash them off. They need
these to get you set up for treatment each day. For each treatment, we have to make sure
that you are in the correct position. We may perform a scan of the treatment
area to realign you before treatment. Keeping still during
each treatment is very important. The radiation therapist and a physician
will double check your position before each treatment. If you had a mask or mold made for your
simulation appointment you will wear this for each treatment. Even
though the radiation therapist can’t be in the room while you receive your
radiation treatment, we watch you to keep you safe. We have cameras and an intercom system
in the room so we can see you and talk to you the
whole time. [ music ] You will see your healthcare team every week, or more if needed during your
treatment. We do this to check your side effects
and talk about how you are feeling. Some side effects are common during
treatment and may be different for each patient. Your nurse will spend time reviewing
them during your appointment. If you ever don’t feel well, please call
us. We are happy to see you whenever you
feel you need to be seen. [ music ] I noted something was wrong with his
right eye and I brought him to the emergency room.
They did an exam. They did find a tumor. They decided to have us go to Iowa City and they found that he had
retinoblastoma. Retinoblastoma is a tumor that forms
in the eye and it causes damage to the retina.
Eli did have to have his right eye removed. From the get-go we noticed a higher
caliber of professionalism and knowledge. It seemed like every person that you pass
in the hallway knew exactly where to send you or have an answer for question.
It helped to have so many professionals guiding us through
the process, and we– we’re very appreciative. I couldn’t imagine him being treated anywhere else.
It’s like it just meshed well for him. They took such
good care of him. I think overall the bond that we have with the staff and the bond that Eli has with the doctors and nurses is…it’s one admiration and of respect. Your care does not stop when your
radiation treatment is complete. You will continue to have routine
follow-up visits either with your radiation oncologist or our nurse practitioner, who runs our
cancer survivorship program. Transitioning to the survivorship
program depends upon your type of cancer and how you’re doing after treatment.
During your visit, you receive an individualized
survivorship care plan. Our nurse practitioner is able to help you with your
quality of life after treatment. Our clinic offers the best possible
Radiation Therapy care, not only because we are highly trained,
but because we place you, the patient, at the center of our care.
Everyone here is focused on treating you with compassion in a clinic where safety, professionalism,
and accuracy are most valued. We’re focused on excellence and centered
on you. Thank you for trusting us with your care. If you need anything, please let us know.
We are here for you. Thank you for choosing us for your
health care!

One Comment

  1. Zinnia Hondoram
    Zinnia Hondoram April 28, 2019

    I'm disappointed that the stories were not about how radiation felt or anything. I'm curious since I will be getting it myself and only have a paper to go by.

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