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2 Scans Down and a Bunch to Go

We’re huddled in Houston where it was a brisk 47 degrees today, a full 60 degrees cooler than our trip in August. This time I asked for the blankets while I was in the scanner for 20 and 30 minutes at a time.

Today’s scans were a renogram, to make sure my kidneys are functioning well to flush the radiation; and a bone scan to check for mets. Over the next few days I still have an MRI, CT, and several Octreoscans which measure the uptake of the radioactive material by my tumors. It took four sticks to get my IV started today. UGH! I hate IV’s. I have a bunch of lab work tomorrow morning and I’m really hoping they can find a vein on the first try. We’ll get the results of everything when we meet with the doctor next Tuesday afternoon (the appointment got switched from Monday).

Kathy and I love the staff at Excel Diagnostics. As miserable as all of this is for me, the people there really make it okay. We get big hugs like we’re old friends and we laugh and joke our way through the day. Thank goodness for friendship and humor. Speaking of which, we had a wonderful time today meeting Candy, a kindred spirit who has been going through all of this right along with me. A pancreatic NET from SoCal, she had surgery similar to mine at Cedars nearly three years ago and started PRRT here about a year ago. Done with her therapy, Candy’s back in Houston for some follow-up scans. She has been a constant source of inspiration for me, and someone that Kathy and I have both leaned on. We get to spend more time with her tomorrow and we’ll all grab some dinner together.

Mary & Russ are great hosts and we feel right at home here. It’s great to have a place to just relax and unwind in the evening. I think if we had to stay in a hotel for two straight weeks during this I might go crazy.

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.

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.

Stable Disease

We visited Dr. Wolin today after an MRI, CT and blood-work yesterday. He reported that the scans showed stable disease, with no growth in the tumors in my liver or elsewhere. The largest of my many liver tumors is about 4.5 cm across. Dr. Wolin is still convinced that PRRT is the best thing for me, and wants to see me again in L.A. after my first two treatments, probably late October.