Zack Usilton, proton therapy spinal tumor survivor


(light music) My name is Zack Usilton, and I recently completed my proton therapy at the new midtown center. And my diagnosis was an
ependymoma in my spinal canal. The craziest thing about
this particular diagnosis is that it is… Your tumor is wrapped
in your nerve sheathes, and with thousands of nerve sheathes, the smartest brains in the world
don’t know what they go to. This was the no-brainer procedure for me. Due to being youthful and
otherwise quite healthy, you know, my priority was to ensure that I was doing the procedure
that was easiest for my family and also allow for the greatest outcome and long-term stability of my health, which thus far, has just seemed to be a wonderful experience. Each day, when I would show
up for my proton treatments, it was a very easy experience. You’re greeted by friendly faces. You’re, you know, within
10 minutes of arriving, you’re headed towards your treatment, and at least for the case of my treatment, within 10 or so minutes, I was back out. Honestly, the biggest surprise
of the entire experience was that I didn’t feel any pain. You lay down, you’re comfortable, and people come in, and then they leave. And before you know it,
you’re out the door. Initial read from Dr. McDonald was that everything looks
just as they have hoped: no swelling of the nerves,
no identified growth, no new tumors have shown up in the MRI. One of the most important things about the timing of my treatment was trying to support my pregnant wife because we’re due to have
our second child any day now, and thankfully, I had quite a runway after treatments were
over to get back to myself so I can be a fully supportive husband, not just to the newborn but to our daughter Caroline as well. (light music)

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