(BPT) – Laura Rowley has always been a social person.
“Part of it is that I like people so much and I like having good relationships,” said the 53-year-old Seattle resident.
Her affinity for building relationships became apparent when she was diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM), the most common and aggressive form of primary brain cancer. After undergoing and recovering from surgery to remove her tumor, 20 people came to visit her each day she was in the hospital. Most of the people within Laura’s large support network are her friends. She also has a brother, Steve, who lives in New Jersey and two young adult children, Gregory, 21, and Isabella, 17. After surgery to remove her tumor, Laura had vision problems, so her caregivers drove her to appointments and to run errands.
She received radiation treatment and chemotherapy, and then began treatment with <a href=”http://www.optune.com/?cid=RDOD02″ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Optune®</a> – a wearable, portable, FDA-approved treatment. Optune delivers therapy through four adhesive patches, called transducer arrays. These arrays are applied to her scalp and are connected to the device. The arrays are generally changed at least two times per week (every four days at most).
Eight friends learned how to help her reapply the arrays, and sign up to help on a monthly online calendar. Laura learned how to apply the arrays to the top and sides of her head on her own, and often has a friend or her children place the one on the back.
Laura’s friends also provide moral support. Laura aims to walk five to eight miles a day and often has a friend join her. They also often have dinner together. Laura said having a wide support network helps her keep a positive attitude about her diagnosis.
Karen Vogel has lived next door to Laura for 20 years and uses her background in patient advocacy to assist Laura.
“We just clicked,” Karen said of her friendship with Laura. “She’s funny. She’s smart. She has a lot of energy. Laura’s diagnosis has brought us closer. We’re better friends now.”
Karen manages a website for Laura to update her support network, and helped Laura connect with other GBM patients via social media. They’ve also traveled together to California and Puerto Rico. Sometimes, they just talk and get their nails done.
Karen said it can be a challenge at times for Laura’s team to straddle the line between caregiver and friend.
“There are times when we encounter these moments when we’re not sure how much to help and how much to let Laura make her own choices,” she said. “Mostly, I want to be her friend first and a caregiver second. I want to be sure I am respectful and don’t do or say anything that endangers our friendship.”
Karen said being one of Laura’s caregivers has taught her to be more compassionate.
“I’ve learned a lot and I’ve gotten back as much – if not more – than I’ve given,” she said.
To learn more about this FDA-approved device, speak with your healthcare provider and visit <a href=”http://www.optune.com/?cid=RDOD02″ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>www.Optune.com</a>.
<strong>Indications For Use</strong>
Optune is intended as a treatment for adult patients (22 years of age or older) with histologically confirmed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
Optune with temozolomide is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with newly diagnosed, supratentorial glioblastoma following maximal debulking surgery and completion of radiation therapy together with concomitant standard of care chemotherapy.
For the treatment of recurrent GBM, Optune is indicated following histologically-or radiologically confirmed recurrence in the supratentorial region of the brain after receiving chemotherapy. The device is intended to be used as a monotherapy, and is intended as an alternative to standard medical therapy for GBM after surgical and radiation options have been exhausted.
<strong>IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION</strong>
Do not use Optune if you have an active implanted medical device, a skull defect (such as, missing bone with no replacement), or bullet fragments. Use of Optune together with implanted electronic devices has not been tested and may theoretically lead to malfunctioning of the implanted device. Use of Optune together with skull defects or bullet fragments has not been tested and may possibly lead to tissue damage or render Optune ineffective.
Do not use Optune if you are known to be sensitive to conductive hydrogels. In this case, skin contact with the gel used with Optune may commonly cause increased redness and itching, and rarely may even lead to severe allergic reactions such as shock and respiratory failure.
<strong>Warnings and Precautions</strong>
Use Optune only after receiving training from qualified personnel, such as your doctor, a nurse, or other medical personnel who have completed a training course given by Novocure™ (the device manufacturer).
Do not use Optune if you are pregnant, you think you might be pregnant or are trying to get pregnant. It is not known if Optune is safe or effective in these populations.
The most common (≥10%) adverse events involving Optune in combination with temozolomide were low blood platelet count, nausea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, scalp irritation from device use, headache, convulsions, and depression.
The most common (≥10%) adverse events seen when using Optune alone were scalp irritation from device use and headache.
The following adverse reactions were considered related to Optune when using the device alone: scalp irritation from device use, headache, malaise, muscle twitching, fall and skin ulcer.
All servicing procedures must be performed by qualified and trained personnel.
Do not use any parts that do not come with the Optune Treatment Kit, or that were not sent to you by the device manufacturer or given to you by your doctor.
Do not wet the device or transducer arrays.
If you have an underlying serious skin condition on the scalp, discuss with your doctor whether this may prevent or temporarily interfere with Optune treatment.
Please visit Optune.com/Safety for Optune Instructions For Use (IFU) for complete information regarding the device’s indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.
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