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live40mr's Recent CancerCompass Activity

  • Live40mr has replied to a post on the message board

    I am doing great! The only long term side effect I had to deal with was the radiation damaged my thyroid. I now have to take synthetic thyroid called synthroid and I give myself a weekly testosterone shot. I was given my radiation with the Tomotherapy machine which saved my salava glands.

    March 04 at 3:01 PM view post
    • Live40mr has replied to a post on the message board

      I am a strong Tomotherapy advocate, I have very little side effects from my treatment many years ago. My thyroid is shot but testosterone shots and synthroid were a easy fix for that. I didnt have any dental repaire so I didnt have to have any teeth removed. Best of luck, Keep on surviving

      January 09, 2017 view post
      • Live40mr has replied to a post on the message board

        Hello Erin, You are right in that every one reacts very different from treatments. I started rubbing Vit oil on my face, neck, and upper chest after my first Tomo treatment. But ask his doctor before he starts. Mine didn,t care as long as it was pure Vit E oil and I only did it after the treatment.  I stated losing my taste at the end of two weeks and starting losing my hair across the back of my neck at three ...

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        • Live40mr has replied to a post on the message board

          Hello everyone,   WOW, its so nice to hear all these success stories. Just wanted to pop in and say congradulations and keep on surviving!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

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          • Live40mr has replied to a post on the message board

            Hello Dave,    Diana has given you great advice. Remember doctors and hospitals are experts here, but are also in their respective fields to make money. They are dedicated to making you better no doubt but are not going to refer you some where else that may have better equipment to treat your paticular cancer.   I also had squamous cell( Primary in the right tonsil which had spread to the top three l...

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            • Live40mr has replied to a post on the message board

              Racing will start in march with thr Kentucky Derby triple crown 3, 6 and 10 miler, then two weeks after that the kentucky derby marathon. I am still looking at the tris. Plan on 3-4 olympic distance tris, 2 half ironmans(70.3 miles). and 1 140.6 mile full ironman. Also in june I haop to finish a 50 mile ultra marathon to celebrate my 5oth birthday in April. Accurray/Tomotherapy are planning on covering that race as a...

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              • Live40mr has replied to a post on the message board

                Congrats Diana, I am very happy to here of your success. I all ways tell people every one is different and I can only tell about my experience. It saddens me to read peoples stories that are still getting fried by standard radiation machines. Stay healthy and keep on surviving. I am actually racing in my tris under accurray/tomotherapy

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                • Live40mr has replied to a post on the message board

                  Hello Mark I did not have cisplati, but recieved 35 doses of radiation to my throat after a modified neck dissection and tonsil romoval. I had my treatments with a Tomotherapy machine. I did not have a peg tube. I never missed a treatment and never missed a day of work. It is going to depend on what kind of radiation machine you are going to get treated by. Thay are not all equal. I looked as food as my medicine and...

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                  • Live40mr has replied to a post on the message board

                    Yes I was very fortunate not to have had to endure the wrath of chemo. I to sported a fancy bowl cut( i think thats what thay called it ). My doctor stated that if my hair had not fallen out he would have questioned my treatment. I was fortunate my body reacted extremly well against the radiation. I call treatments our tour of duty, meaning that once you are done and get those clean scans boy was it worth it.  ...

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                    • Live40mr has replied to a post on the message board

                      If you look at the very first post of this blog thats me just after treatment ended.

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                      About live40mr

                      Patient, Student, Survivor
                      Other Cancer

                      TOMOTHERAPY.COM Patient Profiles Mark Montgomery
                      In August of 2009, 45-year-old Mark Montgomery completed his first full (140 mile) Ironman in Louisville, Kentucky. Just over four years ago, he was dealing with the distinct likelihood that distance running of any distance might never be possible for him again.


                      Mark sets pace in the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon.While shaving one morning in February 2005, Mark noticed a small lump on an upper lymph node by his ear and thought he “might be coming down with something,” like a cold or flu. When a week passed with no illness and no change in the lump, Mark visited a doctor who diagnosed him with a clogged saliva gland and prescribed a course of antibiotics. When the antibiotics didn’t help, Mark was referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who scheduled an operation to cut the lump out.

                      A health-conscious endurance athlete and non-smoker, Mark was in such a low-risk category that no one mentioned the possibility the lump could be cancerous. Though Mark too hoped this was the case, he decided to get a second opinion before surgery. He enlisted the help of his sister, a critical care doctor, who referred him to the Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville Hospital where a needle biopsy was performed on the lump.

                      Diagnosis, Surgery and a Treatment Plan—All in the Same Month

                      A week later, in mid-March 2005, Mark was diagnosed with secondary squamous cell cancer. Though this was still a stage one (basic) cancer, the concern was that cell in the neck was a secondary cancer cell, which meant there was a primary cell the doctors had yet to locate. Understandably shaken by this news, Mark was grateful his sister had accompanied him to this initial meeting, as she was able to provide, in Mark’s words, ‘technical support,’ making sure he received the correct information and understood the medical terminology.

                      Mark was then referred to Dr. Jeffrey Bumpous, an ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeon and cancer specialist. On March 31, 2005, Mark underwent a bilateral tonsillectomy and a right modified radical neck dissection. The pathology demonstrated 3 nodes with metastasic squamous cancer in the upper neck and squamous cancer in the right tonsil.

                      Though the doctors removed the cancer, Mark remained at risk for residual microscopic cancer. Therefore, radiation to the tonsil and neck was recommended. A husband and father to a 14-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son, Mark agreed with their recommendation: “Chances were good they got it, but because of my wife and children, I didn’t want to take any chances.”


                      “Don’t realize what you’ve got until you’re about to lose it.”

                      A tri-athlete and distance runner since high school, Mark had learned the side effects of standard radiation treatment to the neck and throat could include irrevocable damage to and/or loss of teeth, voice box and salivary glands. Justifiably, he was concerned that the athletic lifestyle he had enjoyed for so many years was about to become a thing of the past.

                      With this information in hand, Mark started asking questions and doing research on the Internet (and with the help of his sister) to find out what he could do to avoid these consequences and maintain his quality of life.


                      Mark’s #1 fans (children and father) snap a quick picture after rooting him on during the race.Mark was referred to Dr. William Spanos at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Mark described Dr. Spanos as a ‘good listener,’ who understood how important it was to Mark that he be able to continue the athletic lifestyle he had come to value.

                      The radiation team told Mark he was a good candidate for treatment on the TomoTherapy® Hi·Art® system—technology that was new to the hospital at the time.

                      Explaining that the machine enabled them to better control where the radiation was going in order to preserve the teeth, voicebox and salivary glands, Dr. Spanos presented TomoTherapy as the best opportunity for a higher quality of life after radiation treatment. Mark agreed to the treatment plan without hesitation: “I’d reviewed his (Dr. Spanos’s) history and he had a pretty outstanding track record.”

                      As this was new technology at the time (the Brown Cancer Center was among the first 15 sites to install the Hi·Art treatment system; today there are over 250 worldwide), Dr. Spanos was upfront about treatment being a collaborative process between Mark and the radiation team to devise the best way to keep him still during the radiation sessions. For Mark, the extra time and effort was well worth the chance to preserve his active, athletic lifestyle.

                      “Never missed a full day of work.”

                      A parts and service manager for a large RV store, Mark continued to work while undergoing radiation. With the treatment center just five minutes from his office, he was able to do most of the thirty-five treatments during his lunch hour.

                      As Dr. Spanos had said, experimenting with ways to keep Mark still during treatment was a team effort. For the first few treatments they used a molded mask that bolted to the table (so shoulders, neck, head were in same position) and had Mark breathe through a small tube in the mask. Later they devised a denture-based, halo-type restraint that would keep Mark in place by locking to the top of his mouth.

                      “My body reacted well, or the system was that good.”


                      Mark credits TomoTherapy radiation treatments for keeping him on track with his active lifestyle.“Three weeks into treatment, things started tasting not so good,” Mark said. By week six, he was starting to tire more easily and everything had begun to take on a metallic, rust-like taste. As he could still taste vanilla and chicken, Mark drank lots of Ensure and water, and ate chicken and dumplings. Mark recollected some long dinners around this time where he “would sit down and make (himself) eat until it was all gone.” His perseverance paid off, and he lost only fifteen pounds during treatment.

                      Mark understood his side effects were minimal when he compared them to what he saw in the waiting room during his lunchtime appointments: “I saw other folks doing treatments on different machines and they weren’t faring as well as I was. I could tell by the way their necks were swollen, blistered and by (their) eating tubes.” Beyond some markings on his neck, hair loss along the back of his head and mild weight loss, Mark doubts anyone would have known he was undergoing radiation.

                      “No doubt in my mind I received the best treatment possible.”

                      Two weeks after ending radiation treatment, Mark’s hair started growing back and he regained his sense of taste. After two months, Mark could eat or drink anything—including hot, spicy foods—and felt his life was almost entirely back to normal.

                      Now almost five years cancer-free, everything is back to normal for Mark. In fact, he has continued distance running, and has successfully taken on the challenge of half- and full Ironman races.

                      “Since 2007, I have competed in many races, so I can honestly say I haven’t lost a step,” said Mark. “I have run in the Kentucky Derby Marathon in 2008 with a finishing time of 3:56. In the fall of 2008 I ran in the Louisville Fall Half Marathon. In 2009, I started out with the triple crown races of the Kentucky Derby, a 3-miler, 6-miler, and a 10-miler. I also did the Oschner 70.3 Half Ironman in New Orleans. And, in August of 2009 I finished my first 140 mile full Ironman, the Ford Ironman in Louisville. I have no problem with dry mouth or any other of the side effects that you hear about when receiving radiation to the throat. I owe my quality of life to Dr. Spanos and his staff, and the wonderful folks at TomoTherapy.”


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