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Relaxing Weekend

We’ve been enjoying ourselves just hanging out in the pool. It’s a great way to beat the heat.

The picture below is at Minute Maid Park during batting practice. The exposure isn’t great, but that’s Kathy standing next to Russ and Mary with their son Steven in the middle. It’s a great ballpark, but it was a bit of a letdown to see the Giants get hammered for the second day in a row by the worst team in baseball. They actually gave out free “Los Astros” t-shirts last night, and I’m wearing mine right now because it’s cheaper than therapy. If the Giants get swept today the shame will be unbearable.

Tonight will be our last night staying with our friends in Spring. Tomorrow we’ll head to the hotel in Houston following the afternoon doctor’s appointment. I’ll post more after that.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

TGIF

Aaahh, the scans are all done. Woohoo! No more IVs until next Wednesday. Double Woohoo!! Today was the fourth and final octreoscan, about an hour lying still in the machine from Monday’s picture. That was followed by an IV injection of the glucose tracer for the PET scan. We sat around for 45 minutes while that was absorbed by my tumors, then had the actual scan in the machine above. It’s the same machine I had my CT scan in yesterday. The PET scan was also about 45 minutes. Then that was it.

We’re going to take it easy this weekend, catching a Giants-Astros game tomorrow at Minute Maid Park. No plans for Sunday. Monday afternoon at 2:00 we meet with Dr. Delpassand to hear the results from all of the scans this week. I’ll post more after that meeting. Have a great weekend.

Almost Done with Scans

Today was pretty easy. Just about an hour in the same scanner for the third phase of the octreoscan. The imaging plates slowly rotated around my body giving them a pretty cool 3-D picture of tracer uptake in my tumors and elsewhere.

That was followed by a CT of my abdomen, something I’ve had done dozens of times. First they had me drink a quart of contrast that they says tastes like a chocolate milkshake (lie) then they gave me an IV in the back of my hand for more contrast. That’s usually no big deal but the vein blew out so it was a little painful.

We were done in time for lunch and a leisurely drive back to Spring. I’m feeling much better being back on my regular injections. Tonight I have a special high protein, no carb diet in preparation for the PET scan tomorrow. The PET tracer is a glucose analog so they want your cells to be very hungry for that tracer when it comes along.

More tomorrow after my final scans. Thanks for stopping by.

The Dreaded MRI

Well enough about the weather already because apparently my ranting isn’t going to drop the mercury one bit.

Here’s a picture of the wonderful home we’re staying at in Spring TX with some old friends, Mary and Russ and their two sons. It’s really great to have a comfortable environment and some excellent home cooking during this adventure.

Today involved two scans in the same apparatus with a similar nuclear injection. They were octreoscans, where the isotopes bind to my tumors so they can get a good idea of how effectively the real therapy next week will also bind to my tumors. Tomorrow and Friday will each entail an additional octreoscan to track that effectiveness over time.

I also had an MRI today. I don’t care what anybody tells you or where you have it done, but when you’re 6’2” with broad shoulders squeezing into a little tube with your arms bent over your head while a loud machine screams at you for a prolonged period of time is never fun. It’s all part of the process however and I know that the images are invaluable in displaying very clear pictures of my tumors.

The good news is that I’m back on my octreotide injections this evening and am already feeling a little better. I’ll be on them until Sunday night when I’ll have to go off again to prepare for next Wednesday’s therapy.

The other PRRT patient that we met was on a second scanner in the same room with me today. She and I spoke briefly this afternoon, and of course we’re both very hopeful for great results from this therapy. She has also been off her injections for a couple days so we were commiserating. This is all a little easier with a shared experience.

Tomorrow will be another octreoscan and a PET scan (which I’ve never had before). I’ll post more after that. Take care y’all.

More Scans – Day 2

I think it was actually a little hotter today in Houston than yesterday. Incredible. I suppose you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, except I heard a report that it’s so hot all of the chickens are laying hard boiled eggs.

Today consisted of more scans on the same machine that was in yesterday’s photo. First was a renogram to check for kidney function, then a bone scan. Different blends of the same radioactive isotope were injected for the imaging. The kidney scan is done to make sure that my kidneys are functioning okay since that’s where next week’s radiation therapy will settle aside from my tumors. They need to be confident that my kidneys will be able to handle the influx of radiation and then effectively clear it from my system.

The bone scan was done to look for the possibility of bone metastases. That scan went from head to toe. Afterward it was evaluated, and then they did a follow-up scan on my abdomen to get a better picture of some areas that they wanted to look at a little more closely. Ideally the first scan would have been enough, meaning they didn’t see anything. We’ll find out the results of this scan, and all of the scans from this week when we meet with the doctor on Monday afternoon.

I also had to stop taking my injections yesterday morning since that drug can interfere with some of the imaging. It’s the first time I’ve been off of Sandostatin for years, which helps control my symptoms, and today I’m not feeling so great. Lots of flushing and discomfort, especially after eating. I get to start my injections again tomorrow evening and can stay on them until Monday, when I’ll be off of them again. Hopefully this therapy will be very successful and will help knock down my carcinoid syndrome symptoms.

Through it all, the people at Excel have been great. I’m also very fortunate to have Kathy by my side every step of the way.

Tomorrow afternoon will bring a couple rounds of octreoscans and an MRI. I’ll post more then. Take care.

First Day in Houston

So in case you haven’t heard, it’s ridiculously hot and humid in Texas right now. Thank goodness for air conditioning. It’s okay though because the people and the facility at Excel Diagnostics are all first rate. I’m very lucky to be here and to have access to this therapy. We’re also very fortunate to be staying with some old friends in Spring, Texas just north of Houston.

Today was pretty simple, just an hour or so this morning spent doing an EKG and a MUGA scan. That scan was done on the machine I’m standing next to above. First they injected me via IV with a couple of different chemicals, one radioactive, that allowed them to see my heart pumping away. Then about 20 minutes in the scanner and that was it.

Excel Diagnostics, Houston
Excel Diagnostics, Houston

Kathy and I also got to meet a fellow patient who was starting her PRRT journey today. She’s from California and sees the same oncologist as I do at Cedars. It’s great to have others to talk to who are experiencing the same thing, rooting each other on.

Tomorrow brings a couple more scans over a few hours. I’ll post more afterward. Thanks for checking in.