On the go with OptuneMy husband, Darrell, is a guy who is always on the go, so having a steady supply of charged batteries is essential for him. He currently averages in the upper 90s for his monthly Optune usage percentage and maintaining this usage rate is a top priority for him. Optune is recommended to be used 75 percent of the time to receive the best response from treatment. Whether at home or away, Darrell uses the backpack provided by nCompass®, Novocure’s support program, during all waking hours. The only time he plugs the Optune unit into the wall for alternating current (AC) power is at night when he goes to bed.
Fortunately, Novocure and the nCompass support team make it simple for us to maintain Darrell’s active lifestyle with a steady source of Optune battery power. Darrell is pictured above hiking Red Rock Canyon in Nevada—using the device, of course. With his doctor’s permission, Darrell has been able to remain active since starting Optune.
Benefits of multiple charging stationsOur Device Support Specialist (DSS) from nCompass understands our active lifestyle, so she recommended to us early on that we keep two charging stations. We have a total of six charging bays, so Darrell never needs to worry about finding a charged battery. Our DSS also procured a couple of extra batteries for us so Darrell can use one battery in his unit, I can carry a charged backup battery, and six other batteries can charge up if necessary. The photo below shows an example of how we set up our “Optune Center” in our home office. By placing the charging bases—and our MyLink device—next to each other, everything is always right where we need it, every time.
A charging routine that works for usOur routine for charging batteries is simple. Any time Darrell leaves the house, we “check his dots”—the number of green lights on the battery in the unit to see how much power the battery has. If it’s less than fully charged, Darrell changes to a full battery. Ensuring that he leaves the house with a fully charged battery maximizes our time between battery charges.
In addition to our regular routine, I always carry a fully charged battery in my own bag. If Darrell’s battery runs low during our daily activities, we change to my backup battery. For longer adventures, we pack a second or even a third extra charged battery, just to be safe. The batteries are equipped with fitted travel sleeves to keep them protected in my bag or in the car. Upon returning home each day, we both swap our empty batteries for full ones at our charging station.
Like any battery, Optune batteries eventually stop working for good. The photo above shows another aspect of our battery charging routine—writing a date on each one. Every time we receive a new battery from the nCompass support team, we write the date on painter’s tape and stick it to the battery. This way, we can tell how old a battery is if we ever need to troubleshoot a battery issue. We know other Optune patients who use tape to number their batteries so they can swap out batteries in sequence to ensure even usage.
A little help from our friendsChanging batteries is simple, and our friends and family like to be included. If we’re out with friends, we take about five minutes to teach them how to power down Darrell’s unit, remove the empty battery, replace it with a full one, place the empty one in its sleeve, and stow it in my bag.
The proper placement of the batteries both in the unit and in the charging station fit one way. It’s quite easy for us, and even the children in our lives can—and do!—change Darrell’s batteries.
Traveling and battery powerWe love to travel, often for weeks at a time, and we know many people like to take advantage of the service that allows Optune users to ship supplies in advance to their travel destinations. It is a great service, but we haven’t needed to use it yet.
We pack Darrell’s Optune travel case with one charging station and several full batteries, along with other supplies he may need. If we are traveling by air, I pack all the extra batteries in my carry-on bag as they cannot be placed in checked luggage. We leave our second charging station at home.
Whenever we settle in for the night, we set up the charging station and charge the batteries we used during the day. We have extra full batteries, and Darrell never uses more than about three batteries during the day, so we never fall behind with our charging routine. By charging during the night, we wake up every morning to a fresh set of charged batteries, and it never takes time out of our day.
How we prepare to be away from AC powerThe only time we need to make special charging plans is when we’ll be away from AC power for extended periods of time. For us, that happens only when we travel long distances by plane. Specifically, we flew to Europe and back for a special trip and plugging the charging station into European sockets was no problem with an adapter. Our only thought was to ensure that we had enough battery power to make it between our two travel points. Even with long flights and layovers, we had enough charged batteries to go 24 full hours on battery power. It is important to remember, however, that Optune is designed to be carried on an aircraft but should be powered off during the flight. Our energy levels definitely lagged by the end of the trip, but Optune never slowed down!
For us, charging Darrell’s Optune batteries is such an easy and smooth part of our Optune routine, and we hardly have to think about it these days.