Proton therapy by night: A granular cell cancer survivor’s story

When I was diagnosed with granular cell cancer in May 2017, my doctors at MD Anderson recommended surgery, followed by six weeks of proton therapy. It never occurred to me that I could receive treatment at night, so when my first proton therapy session was scheduled for 10:30 p.m., it freaked me out a little bit. Was that a typo? Why was I being seen so late? I called my care team, and they confirmed the time slot was real. It was also the soonest I could get in, so I kept the appointment. And I quickly discovered that there are many benefits to receiving treatment at night. That’s why I was OK with the remainder of my treatments being in the late night hours, too. Calm, quiet … and zero traffic The MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center is a very busy place. Demand is so high that patients are seen there from 4 a.m. until midnight daily. And as you can imagine, the center is busiest during normal business hours. But by 10:30 at night, it is calm and peaceful, and doesn’t feel like an ordinary clinical environment. And while navigating the Texas Medical Center even outside of rush hour is no picnic, by 10:30 p.m., traffic is practically nonexistent. Even the freeways are a breeze. Distracting myself with adventures Another good thing about scheduling your treatments at night is you have the entire day to work, rest or explore Houston, which is what I did. I really came to love Houston’s parks, museums, leafy streets, and varied districts during my six-week stay — even in the sweltering...