Larry’s story

In our family, our philosophy is "either it's your turn or it's not your turn." By that we mean, only one person can be sick at a time. Before my wife, Lynn, was diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM), she was always the healthy one. She’s a fiery redhead and not one to knuckle under.

I was the one with the health issues: prostate cancer, two hip replacements, and heart disease, a lot of minor surgeries. But whenever anything happened, we knew we were going to deal with it and move on. We were going to put a team together, be smart, be happy.

Nothing phased us. We put up a sign in our living room that reads, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” (That’s a reference to that classic ’70s shark movie, for those who don’t know.) It means no matter how big the problem, you can build a bigger solution. So when Lynn was diagnosed with GBM, we knew we definitely needed a bigger boat.

Lynn's turn

Lynn's diagnosis happened fast. It started with a headache. It persisted for a month and when the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong, she was sent for an MRI. The radiologist said it looked like a brain tumor. We were sent to a big city hospital for a diagnosis. Before we got there, Lynn had a seizure. I knew then it was serious. It was my turn to step in and Lynn’s turn to need help.

When Lynn’s biopsy showed GBM, her neurosurgeon gave us one important piece of advice: Stay off of the Internet! Frankly, we had no time for research. We only had time to get a bigger boat. We just had to focus and get our act together. We didn’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves. We had doctor’s visits and instructions for chemo and radiation.

We didn’t take the time to get too down. We just kept moving forward. As long as we had a plan to follow, we could keep positive and focused on what we needed to do. It was my job to make sure that everyone was on board with our plan.

Larry's role

Just as Lynn had taken care of me so many times before, I was now taking care of her. I was making decisions 24/7 and doing whatever I could to allow Lynn to focus on getting the treatment she needed.

As our plan continued to evolve and change with her needs, Lynn’s doctor told us about Optune®. We learned how Optune worked and what it would entail. After that conversation, we knew Optune was the right decision for Lynn.

Time for change

Lynn's long red hair had to go. No time to mourn. We threw a “Make Lynn Bald Party” and invited her rabbi and her closest friends for wine and cheese. We had friends and family members calling in on video chat. It was hard for some to accept that Lynn would not be the same. But we assured them that we had a plan.

Our nCompass Device Support Specialist (DSS) came to our house with all the supplies and set everything up on the dining room table. She demonstrated how to place the arrays as she explained the process. I was super focused on what she was doing. I knew it would be my responsibility to place and change the arrays going forward.

I took a million notes. It seemed so overwhelming at first, but now it doesn’t. Once we got started, I wasn’t afraid or nervous. It was one of those things I had to do. Our DSS did a phenomenal job instructing us and gave me lots of hints on how to place the arrays correctly according to our placement map.

Sometimes I get frustrated because I want it to be perfect every time. Experience really helps. We kept a sense of humor about the whole thing, and we remained positive about Lynn’s treatment.

Other than help with array changes, Lynn doesn’t need much assistance. She manages carrying supplies, changing batteries, being efficient, and normalizing all parts of using Optune. I help sometimes, but it’s seldom necessary.

The bigger boat

When Lynn was diagnosed, we knew we needed a bigger boat, a larger community to help us get through this difficult diagnosis. This includes more empathetic friends, better doctors, and trusted specialists. All of Lynn’s doctors—her thyroid doctor, her allergy doctor, her GYN—are now connected and all talking to each other. Our team is twice as big as it was—and we trust every single member.

I am not just Lynn’s husband or caregiver; I am part of her treatment team. I go wherever she goes.

As an integral part of the treatment team, I have to take care of myself as well. That means staying healthy—it’s not my turn to be sick! I maintain a healthy diet and work out several times a week. We have the equipment we need right in our house so we can both stay in shape.

And I have to stay emotionally healthy, too. I’m a ridiculously positive person, so that helps. I believe that if you’re positive about all parts of your life, you can get through anything. I keep on track with my friends and activities. I belong to several networking groups. We help each other out in a variety of ways.

Our new normal

Over two years later, Lynn is still that fiery redhead—even without the red hair—and strong as a bull. She’s very independent. Her doctor gave her the okay to drive and exercise, so she drives to her physical therapy sessions. Every day, we walk 4,000 steps together.

We've adapted some of our activities. For example, we stopped camping out in a tent. Instead, we go out in an RV, which takes away any worry that we won't have access to power. We also do less water sports because you should not get the arrays wet, and we spend less time outdoors when it is really hot out. We just figure out each situation as we go.

We are satisfied living the life that our life has become. Accepting the way things are is the way for us to be happy. It’s not enough for Lynn to feel that way. I have to feel that way, too. This is our new normal and I can be happy with that.

What is Optune® approved to treat?

Optune is a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device indicated to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in adult patients 22 years of age or older.

Newly diagnosed GBM

If you have newly diagnosed GBM, Optune is used together with a chemotherapy called temozolomide (TMZ) if:

Recurrent GBM

If your tumor has come back, Optune can be used alone as an alternative to standard medical therapy if:

What is Optune Lua approved to treat?

Optune Lua is a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device indicated for the treatment of adult patients, with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) to be used together with standard chemotherapy (pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy).

Who should not use Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM?

Optune for GBM and Optune Lua for MPM are not for everyone. Talk to your doctor if you have:

Do not use Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. It is not known if Optune/Optune Lua is safe or effective during pregnancy.

What should I know before using Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM?

Optune and Optune Lua should only be used after receiving training from qualified personnel, such as your doctor, a nurse, or other medical staff who have completed a training course given by Novocure®, the maker of Optune and Optune Lua.

What are the possible side effects of Optune for GBM and Optune Lua for MPM?

The most common side effects of Optune when used together with chemotherapy for GBM (temozolomide or TMZ) were low blood platelet count, nausea, constipation, vomiting, tiredness, seizure, and depression.

The most common side effects when using Optune alone for GBM were scalp irritation (redness and itchiness) and headache. Other side effects were malaise, muscle twitching, fall and skin ulcers.

The most common side effects of Optune Lua when used together with chemotherapy for MPM (pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy) were low red blood cell count, constipation, nausea, tiredness, chest pain, fatigue, skin irritation from device use, itchy skin, and cough.

Other potential adverse effects associated with the use of Optune Lua include: treatment related skin irritation, allergic reaction to the plaster or to the gel, electrode overheating leading to pain and/or local skin burns, infections at sites of electrode contact with the skin, local warmth and tingling sensation beneath the electrodes, muscle twitching, medical device site reaction and skin breakdown/skin ulcer.

Talk to your doctor if you have any of these side effects or questions.

Caution: Federal law restricts Optune Lua to sale by or on the order of a physician. Humanitarian Device. Authorized by Federal Law for use in the treatment of adult patients with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, malignant pleural mesothelioma concurrently with pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy. The effectiveness of this device for this use has not been demonstrated.

Please click here to see the Optune Instructions for Use (IFU) for complete information regarding the device's indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.

Please click here to see the Optune Lua IFU for complete information regarding the device's indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.

On this site, patient and healthcare professional videos as well as all images labeled as Optune users, caregivers, or healthcare professionals depict actual patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. All other depictions of patients and caregivers are actor portrayals. Patient images reflect the health status of the patients at the time each photo was taken.

What is Optune approved to treat?

Optune is indicated to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in adult patients 22 years of age or older.