One Man's Story
It was a few weeks before Christmas, and Stanley Dade wasn't feeling well.
The son of a dairy farmer and former postal worker who once delivered mail to the largest rural route in the state of Maryland, Stanley had always enjoyed unusual vigor and good health. But with an uncomfortable set of flu-like systems and the holidays just around the corner, he decided to check in with his family doctor.
After a trip to a specialist, Stanley got some bad news. He had a tumor in the upper quadrant of his right lung. Because of its location near delicate organs, the news got even worse: the tumor was inoperable by conventional methods.
But just when Stanley and his wife, Alma, were the most discouraged, the doctor said something that would change the outlook completely:
"Stanley, I think you're a good candidate for a new technology at FMH called CyberKnife."
"I was looking for a treatment that offered me the best chance for a complete cure," said Stanley, "but I also wanted to avoid the side-effects I knew often went along with open surgery and traditional cancer treatments. Once I met Dr. Chomiak, and he explained what the CyberKnife could do, I knew this was the treatment I wanted."
Shortly thereafter, Stanley had a PET scan to pinpoint the exact location of the tumor. A half a dozen tiny gold markers called "fiducials" were implanted near the radiation site, and a soft, flexible mold of his body was created to make him more comfortable during his four, 90-minute treatments. During his sessions, Stanley wore a special vest to help the CyberKnife team target his tumor and hit it with radiation from 120 different angles.
"Throughout the treatment, I was able to relax and listen to my own music in a pleasant room," he said. "For about an hour or so, it was me,Willie Nelson and Charlie Pride, and the most compassionate, skilled team of caregivers any patient could ever want. The FMH CyberKnife team was simply the best."
"I'm just counting my blessings," said Stanley, "that I had a doctor who recommended CyberKnife, and a hospital system who made the commitment to bring a technology like this to the community. Right about now, I'm feeling like the luckiest guy in the world."
"I had no reaction to anything. Nothing hurt, and I was never sick a day. After the last treatment, I just got up, shook everyone's hand, got in the car and went home. Nothing to it."