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Round Two

I’m back in Houston for my second round of PRRT. I flew in this afternoon and had an MRI. I’ll get the results of the MRI in the next day or two which may give me an early indication of how effective this therapy is after only the first of four treatments. The tech was nice enough to leave my IV in from the MRI so hopefully I’ll have one less needle-stick in the morning.

Tomorrow is the actual infusion of the radioactive therapy along with the amino acids to protect my kidneys. It’s the exact same process as last time, with follow-up scans on Thursday and Friday, then flying back home Saturday. Because this is a much shorter trip Kathy stayed home to help save some money. I’ll be in the treatment room all day tomorrow with one of the other patients I met on my first trip. We ran into each other at the hotel, and will have lots to talk about as we sit there for five hours.

Thankfully Houston is a little cooler (still about 90) and a lot less humid than it was in August. My interesting travel story is that the TSA opened my suitcase to inspect it, I guess in San Jose, then LOCKED it shut with the built-in lock. I haven’t ever carried that key, so I had to get a locksmith to open my suitcase for me here in Houston. I’ll be sure to find the key and keep it with me from now on.

I’ll post more after my therapy. Take care.

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.

Leaving Soon for Houston

We’re leaving for Houston this coming Sunday. I have my schedule of procedures in hand for the two week stay. Some tests I’ve had many times before like CTs and MRIs. The Octreoscan (a 3-day scan) I’ve had a couple of times. Then there will be a MUGA scan, bone scan, renogram and PET scan, all of which will be new to me. All of that takes place during our first week there. Meeting with the doctor, and the actual PRRT procedure happen the second week. I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted along the way here on this blog.

Today included an hour spent at the lab while they deciphered the myriad orders for blood and urine tests. I’ll be back again Wednesday and Thursday to get all of the preliminary tests out of the way.

Also over the past few weeks I’ve received many more donations from friends old and new. My buddy Derek was kind enough to post this site on our high school class Facebook page and I’m hearing from people that I literally haven’t seen in 30 years. Go Dolphins! I continue to be overwhelmed by everyone’s support and generosity. The total raised to date is $44,606.22.  I can’t overstate the positive impact of the financial burden of this stressful situation being lifted from my shoulders. Thank you all!

More posts soon, and many posts from Houston.