Starting OptuneWhen starting out on Optune there were many unknowns and one question I initially had was, “How will I tackle any potential obstacles and mishaps along the way?”
Fortunately, the initial training with the Device Support Specialist (DSS) was very informative and cleared up any anxiety I had about managing Optune. I’ve found the treatment to be both manageable and sustainable. I try to face any obstacles with patience and levelheadedness. I know any alarm that is triggered is just there to tell me what needs to be corrected. If I run into a problem, there is always a solution to be found.
On a day-to-day basis, I’m always prepared to maintain Optune in case it alerts me to something. This doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I feel more comfortable knowing Optune has ways to ensure I get the most out of it. If I need to turn off the device and pause treatment for any reason, then it’s a simple two-step process to do. I investigate what the problem might be—perhaps a low battery or maybe it’s time to change the arrays.
Problem-Solving with Optune
I almost always manage Optune by myself, but if I need any help, I know nCompass® support and the DSS are just a phone call away. I also can go to my brother, who is my caregiver, for help. With most problems, I find a fix pretty quickly. Then, I just power the device back on and resume treatment.
A common thought is, “What can be done to make the day-to-day managing of treatment easier?” I find Optune itself to be lightweight, and durable so I’m happy with that aspect. It also comes with a number of carrying bags with different options that work for me.
Make Management Easier with Optune
I think one of the main annoyances can come from the wires getting in the way at times. There are creative ways to braid the wires, clip them to your shirt or your bag, as well as a wire cover provided by Novocure to keep them in check. I’ve also found that wearing a hat or beanie works for me in the right situations whether for fashion or to keep my head and the arrays protected from the sun’s heat. I’ve found success in a hat that has a solar panel that powers a fan to keep my head cool!
Many people talk about sleeping while using Optune. For me, it’s the easiest time to receive treatment. It can be important though to make sure the wires are out of your way. Perhaps make sure the wires run to the device on a nightstand by guiding them above your head along the headboard. Also, for some, it can be important to have a cooling pillow.
While avoiding water with Optune is a must, you can always have a change day and take a break for anything involving water. Daily showers are easily obtained by disconnecting from the device and wearing a shower cap for the arrays.
If I were to want to improve anything about the Optune treatment, it would be the arrays. I’m fortunate to have my brother help me manage them and change them every three to four days.
Optune and the Arrays
We also use a stretch net designed to serve as a second dressing to help keep the arrays in place. I find this to be very important. If the arrays start to peel off or have any issues, we aren’t afraid to replace the arrays and have an unplanned change day.
It’s also important to talk to your doctor about skin irritations if they occur, which I’ve been able to manage. Though challenging at times, the arrays are reasonable and certainly have worked well for me.
All in all, I find very little annoyance with Optune, and I’m very happy and grateful that I’m able to continue treatment.
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To access the patient information and operations manual, click here. If you feel any change in your health or any side effects from the treatment, call your doctor right away.