Trilogy Radiation Therapy: Donna Tomasson-Wright
Donna Tomasson-Wright and her husband, Harry, of Muscatine have a simple analogy to help them stay positive as they have simultaneously battled cancer.
"We look at cancer treatment like taking your car into the shop for its 100,000-mile maintenance," says Donna, who is being treated for breast cancer. "Like a car, your body needs to get parts fixed and adjusted and then you're good to go. We try to stay upbeat."
Her "adjustment" comes in the form of the next generation of cancer-fighting radiation therapy - the Varian Trilogy with Brain Lab ExacTrac Robotics. The 58-year-old is one of the first patients to receive the new treatment now being offered at the Genesis Cancer Care Institute.
Smart Care Technology
It's all part of Genesis Smart Care, the latest non-invasive and minimally invasive treatments that get patients back to their lives quickly.
"This is very high-tech, and I'm ready and thrilled to be able to have this treatment so close to home," she says.
Genesis is one of only a few hospitals in the nation to offer Trilogy. By delivering radiosurgery beams with sub-millimeter accuracy, oncologists can better deliver high doses of radiation to targeted areas, while protecting adjacent healthy tissue.
Trilogy can pinpoint the exact location of the cancer on a daily basis, correcting for any patient or target motion. An on-board imager even synchronizes treatment with the patient's breathing cycles to target tumors more precisely.
Donna's Cancer Experience
Donna likes the idea of accurately pinpointing her cancer while protecting the healthy tissue. Her journey with cancer began in summer 2008, when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She had a total hysterectomy.
During a post-surgery check-up, she asked her doctor: "But why do I have these knots in my right breast?"
The knots she felt turned out to be breast cancer. During a lumpectomy to remove one tumor, the surgeon discovered another deeper tumor. The cancer had spread to some of her lymph nodes as well.
To complicate matters, her husband was diagnosed with lung cancer and had to have surgery between the time of her two lumpectomies. A third of his lung was removed, and now he is cancer-free. "He was the lucky one," she says.
Donna then underwent chemotherapy, which concluded in February, 2009. With less than a 1/4 inch length of hair beneath her wig, she is ready for the next phase of her treatment with Trilogy.
She works at Allsteel in Muscatine, and was among the workers who accepted a 13-week, non-contested layoff. "I get unemployment and health insurance, and my job is guaranteed after the 13-week layoff is over. My company offered it to me so I could continue my radiation treatments without using medical leave.
"Things are falling into place," she says.