Radiotheraphy Clinicals

Time flies, indeed when you love what you’re doing. My radiation theraphy (radiotheraphy) clinical has already come to an end and there are still lots of stuff to learn and master. Three weeks in the department is not enough. I’m sure going to miss the patients, the staffs and the linac (linear accelerator) machine. However, it would also be nice to go back to school again and prepare for the last exam this semester. The exam is going to be an oral exam via Zoom. Nerve recking but it saves a lot of time rather than a home exam for eight freaking hours!

Before the radiotheraphy clinical, I thought that this is the same as PET (Positron Emission Tomography) but no it is not. While PET is also used in the Oncology Department, its purpose is different from radiotheraphy. Radiotheraphy is used to treat sickness by killing cancer cells/tumors and relieve pain by ionizing radiation. PET on the other hand is used for visualizing the metabolic and physiological process of the cells in the body. In short, PET is used for imaging and examination only.

The first week in the department was both exciting and challenging for me and my classmate because we never had any lectures yet since this course about radiotheraphy and oncology is a third year course. However, the department’s adviser has given us some of her time and gave us an introduction and short lecture about the department and what radiotherapists do. We were also introduced to our respective supervisors and showed the treatment rooms that we were assigned to. My classmate was assigned at the treatment room for patients with prostate cancer and I was assigned at the treatment room with almost all kinds of cancer patients. Then my supervisor showed me around the department and of course showed me the linac machines. Linacs are used for external beam radiation treatments. External beam radiation treatment means that cancer cells are targeted and shot from the outside of the body. Then before the first week ended I got the chance to “drive” the linac and give my very first radiation treatment to a cancer patient. It was a great feeling and at the same time I was also tensed because it was my first time to operate a linac. 🙂

Varian True Beam at lab 3. A newer linac.

The treatment room I was assigned to has an old linac from 2007. I feel fortunate to be able to operate it because the department is going to replace it soon with a newer one. Unlike the newer models, this linac has two pedals (not in the pictures). Then, the newer ones are of course more automated and quicker. Thus, saving a lot of time and can treat more patients.

The control panel of Rapid Arc

The lab that I’m assigned to. The linac machine is a Varian Rapid Arc system from 2007.

During the second week of the clinical, I was again allowed to operate the linac and my supervisor gave me some “matching” tasks offline on the computer. When we say matching, it means that we match the CT images taken before the radiation dosage planning to the images that we’ve taken during the radiation treatment. Because radiation treatment is not just only done once but multiple times. To avoid unnecessary exposure and damage to other parts of the body or organs, the point of entry should exactly be the same every time.

Then my classmate and I was given short lectures about dosage planning, the software that they use, side effects of radiation theraphy, brachytherapy and hyperthermia treatment. Brachytherapy is an internal radiation treatment using a radioactive material enclosed in a capsule and hyperthermia treatment is a cancer treatment where the cancer cells are heated up at around 40 degrees Celsius to damage and kill the cancer cells. This old hyperthermia chamber (the picture below) is the only one in Norway. We were told that when this machine stops working, the patients who would need hyperthermia treatment should go to Germany because Norway has no plans of replacing it. Financial reasons, I guess?

A hyperthermia chamber.

Since the hyperthermia chamber doesn’t use/emit ionizing radiation, we were allowed to give it a try. Well, at least feel the pressure as the bag is being filled with water.

My classmate Magnus trying out the hyperthermia chamber.

Anyway, I can say that my clinical in the oncology department is a unique experience and very educational. I’ve learned a lot of new stuff and met wonderful people. The days varied as there were no days are the same even though most of the patients that I met are the same. There were the happy shifts and there were some sad as well because some of the patients displayed worsening symptoms and some had to stop the treatment because of the unresponsiveness of the cancer to the radiation.

At what cost?

Some say that dreaming and dreams are free and that should be enough to reach it. My parents, mentors and friends have actually said the same. Of course I also did. But when I became independent and started deciding for my life, I have never looked back at dreaming the way I did when I was young.

For those of you who are new to my blog, I am taking up Bachelor in Radiography in Bergen and this is actually going to be my second degree. Most of my friends and family told me that I am lucky that I do not have to think about money when studying, because they know that Norway is kind to all its citizens. Well, I cannot say that I am lucky but I cannot say I am not either. I do not go to school for free despite of the student support from the government because it is still loan. Only a certain percentage is given to us students when we pass the exams.

This semester, I had two OJT’s. The first one is more inclined to basic nursing at the ortopedic department at the hospital and the second one is at the ER, taking x-rays of patients with suspected bone fractures. I had lots of fun and there are lots to learn that I got sad during the last days of my duty. However, my days (and evening/night) shifts did not go flawless because of lack of sleep and being a mom at the same time is exhausting. But exhaustion did not stop me from waking up early in the morning and driving late at night because I love what I was doing.

My microeconomic professor once told us during one of his lectures that nothing in this world is free. That we never get a free ride in life. In one way or another, we have to pay whether it is in monetary form, energy or for instance time. If you choose to stay at home rather than attend a lecture to save lunch money, yes you have probably added more to your savings but at the same time you pay for the missed information/knowledge.

Both of my OJT’s this year made me realized that it is never easy to work for your dreams. There is always turbulence along the way even though the skies are clear. In my case, every day at the hospital and the ER is very educational and memorable but at the same time stressfull and sometimes filled with anxiety because some shifts are just really busy and energy draining.

So, the cost of my dream this semester is two weeks of migraine attacks, stiff neck, a trip to the ER, time away from my little one, tears and a minor car accident.

Lyngheisenteret

Lyngheisenteret or the Heathland Centre is a museum and an information centre about preserving the culture, traditions and lifestyle of coastal heathlands. According to their website this unique and beautiful landcape is dissappearing in a high rate not just here in Norway but also in Europe. The Heathland Centre is located at Lygra in Alver Kommune. From Bergen it is about an hour car ride. You can also reach Lygra by taking the boat for only 40 minutes from Strandkaien.

I took this trip out of curiosity (and spontaneity) and because I wanted to see and explore a new place that is not so far from home. Since I had a day off last Wednesday, I took the opportunity to be extra active by taking long walks with my dog. I was also lucky because the weather was perfectly sunny.

From where I live, circa at Vågseidet, it takes around 15 minutes to drive to Seim. Then from Seim to Lygra where the Lyngheisenteret is, in theory should only take around 15 minutes. So, in total 30 minutes. But, I found the car trip longer as I’m not familiar with the roads and plus the roads are also narrow as well. So yeah, I took it slow.

As I was getting near my destination, the views were also getting more and more picturesque. I had to stop at atleast one of them! My favorite is the bridge that connects Lygra to Børøyna. I find it fascinating because of how low this bridge is!

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The small and low bridge connecting Lygra and Børøyna. In the end of the bridge is a 79 meter long tunnel, the Lygra tunnel.

After a couple of minutes, my dog and I were finally there. There are signs along the way so it’s not easy to get lost. There’s a large info board by the parking area with a brief history of the Heathland Centre and the map of the place. It’s actually very detailed.

 

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The information board.

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Dogs should be on a leash because this is a grazing area.

 

One of the grinds.

 

The facade of the Heathland Centre

The Heathland Centre is closed during the offpeak season. However, people are free to explore and wander the place. Just don’t forget to close the grinds because there might be sheep grazing here.

Just another grind!

As expected of the west coast, the land is wet and moist. It has been raining a lot these past few months so there are short muddy trails. So I highly recommend that you wear good footwear here.

 

Zorro’s always excited to move on.

What I love about this place is that it has a beach. It’s not a typical mountain hike where there are mostly thick pine tree forest. Zorro and I took a break here on the way back.

 

The sign to the beach

 

The beach

For grilling

To sum up, I can say that this is a very easy hike for people of all ages who love to take long walks with their love ones or with a dog. The trails are easy to spot and the information is not lacking either. The duration of the hike from the parking area is around 1 to 2 hours depending on your tempo. My number one tip is to use a pair of waterproof boots or hiking shoes.

When it comes to public transportation, check the bus company Skyss’ website for the schedule. For the information about overnight stays, camping and other concerns, check out the museum’s information site.

Trying Out EM1X -part I

Disclaimer: I’m not a professional photographer nor paid to write for Olympus.

Olympus is one of the big camera brands in the market today that has been in the market since 1936 ( that is the year Olympus’ first camera was introduced according to Wikipedia).

Last month, I was fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to test their mirrorless camera. I saw the Olympus ad on Facebook about their mirrorless cameras ( which are the EM1X and the E-M1 Mk2 ) that they are borrowing out to people who are interested in trying out Olympus cameras. So, I immediately filled up the form and since it’s Olympus, I didn’t have a huge expectation because for sure there are hundreds or thousands of people who would like to put Olympus cameras to the test. To my surprise one of their consultants emailed me and asked some information about me and what I usually take pictures of. He informed me that I could borrow a camera of my choice but the waiting time is long because there are lots of people who showed interest in the ad. I was also informed that this is also a project that he is working on (will do a seperate post about this).

I chose the EM1X and I asked for a telephoto lens. Unfortunately, I got late and I got the telezoom and a standard lens instead. I’m not complaining though.

Here are a couple of shots that I took using EM1X. Fixed the lighting on LR.

Introducing Føllet Bolle. Føllet is Norwegian for foal.
A cooperative muse.

That would be all for now. Till next post. 🙂

Tall Ships Races 2019

The Tall Ships Races is one of the biggest events in Europe every summer. The idea is to build good relationships between the different countries and cultures through sail training “tall” ships or sail boats. The participants should be at least 50 percent young people.

This year, we are fortunate enough to have witnessed this event because Bergen is one of the hosts. Even though Bergen is just 45 minutes away drive from where we live, we booked a room for 3 nights because we really wanted to see the festivities and to make most out of our city trip. The first days were rainy but it did not stop the people in checking out the sail boats.

It’s raining here but still beautiful. This was taken late in the evening, from the hotel room.

The weather has finally cleared up the following day and up to the day the ships had to sail to their next destination which is Aarhus Denmark.

The dream summer weather. Sunny and just with few clouds.
The last night of Tall Ships Races in Bergen was ended with the amazing firework show.
Sail day. Au revoir! Vi ses igjen!

I hope you enjoyed the photos. 🙂 Have a nice day!

Monochrome Series 4: The Worker

When I was still living in the city, I wondered where the bees were, because I only saw a couple of these pollinators even though the place is rich in plants and flowers. I always have a fascination for bees because of their bright yellow and black color. Also, these species has an enorm contribution to the ecosystem. Without them, we would starve to death. Going back to where the bees are, they are on the countryside. Apparently, they do not thrive in the city. For sure, because of the pollution and the human population threatening their peace and existence.

 

 
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Monochrome Series 3: Abandoned

A couple of hundred meters away from where I live, there is a growing number of forest. Inside these forests are hidden cabins/houses that have been abandoned for many years. We found two of them at the moment and these cabins seem to have stories to tell if only the doors are unlocked. There was of course the temptation to break in, but I respect the door locks for perhaps the owners wanted it that way. And I find it very rude to just break in into someone’s property without permission. Well, we were already trespassing on their property already and breaking in will be way too much, in my opinion.

The first house is not hard to find because it is located by the main tractor road and it is located just behind someone’s active property. But as you can see in the picture, mother nature is slowly, but surely taking over the property.

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House #1

House number 2 on the other hand is a bit isolated. It is hard to find because of the dense forest that surrounds it.

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House #2

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House #2’s side entrance/door.

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Some of House #2’s details.

The Product

After months of never-ending work, noise, body aches and frustration, here we are finally done with the flat renovation. It’s great to see the outcome of combined ideas and tips not just from the designer but also from our family and friends.

In the process, the renovation has thought me something. It is about the effort, time and how we incorporate ideas into reality when we only have limited resources or limited budget. I’ve learned that it is alright to seek for help. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask and admit to others that we can’t do everything on our own.

Anyway, this post is not just to show you the final product of the upgrade but also to give tips on how to upgrade a flat and make it presentable on a limited budget. So here you go:

1: Declutter! – Decluttering will not only make your place neat and tidy but also easier for you to picture how you actually want the flat to look like.

2. Find for inspiration on the internet No designer? Don’t fret! Just type a keyword or two and see what the Internet has for you. Well, you don’t have to copy every single detail that you see in the pictures but let this give you an idea on what you really want to do with the flat.

3. Talk to your broker and ask for advice: If you are going to sell your crib, it is wise to ask the broker for tips and advice about what is the best for your flat. Here in Norway, brokers are good in giving tips on how and what to upgrade and calculate the cost of the renovation.

4. Borrow stuff– You don’t need to buy new sets of furniture or room decorations for the photoshoot. Ask friends if you can borrow their couch, plants and etc.

5. Less is more. – One thing that I’ve learned from Scandinavian homes is simplicity. You don’t have to use all your decors all at once. Remember, you want to emphasize the flat/property and not the decorations in it!

6. Remove all personal belongings. – I’m refering to your toothbrush, laundry and your family/couple picture on the wall.

7. Color coordination. – Colors should compliment each other.

8.Clean! – Who wants to buy a dirty place? Remember, first impression, last.

9. Use plants. – Plants can make the place look fresh and it can also take away the focus from the things that you don’t want the potential buyers to see.

10. Be sure to let natural light in. –Light is essential for bringing out the best in the room.

 

 

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The living room.

 

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Renovated kitchen.

 

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Hotel style bed. Courtesy of my partner’s siblings.

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Details

 

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The terrace.  The chairs and coffee table are borrowed from my partner’s siblings.