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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.