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Ready to Head Home

I had my final post-scan today, and we got our hotel room swept with the geiger counter. Everything is a go for us to return home tomorrow. Kathy and I are both anxious to get on that plane and get back to Gilroy.

The therapy on Wednesday went pretty well. I had the expected pain, flushing and overall discomfort with the amino acid drip. The radiation infusion went off without a hitch. It only took three sticks to get two IVs started, which is a great batting average with my arms.

Yesterday I felt better than I did immediately following my first two treatments. Today, not so much. I’m feeling queasy, tired, weak, and dealing with lots of flushing. The supposition is that all of this is brought on by the cancer cells getting fried and thereby releasing more of the hormones and other junk that make me feel lousy. I know I will start to feel better in a couple weeks, but for now this is miserable.

I’m three quarters of the way done with PRRT. There’s no question that all of this is more tolerable knowing that it’s having a positive impact. As I’ve stated before, however, I really look forward to getting that last treatment behind me late next month so I can really begin to recover without getting knocked back down.

I’ll be sure to post again sometime next week when I’m feeling a little better. Take care.

Good Report

Kathy and I met with the doctor today at Excel Diagnostics and the news was good. The various scans show that my tumors are responding to the therapy, with some of them shrinking and some stable. There are no signs of new tumors. My bone scan was negative. My kidney and liver function are fine. My blood markers that indicate various levels of cancer related junk are trending in the right direction.

All of this will help to slightly soften the blow of tomorrow’s therapy, which I unfortunately know is going to make me miserable. Right now I’m just looking forward to getting this done and getting back home. Kathy, as always, has been a trooper and continues to support me and tolerate all of my nonsense. With a little radiation these next few days I’m certain to light up her life.

More to follow post-therapy…

PRRT Today

Yesterday Kathy and I took advantage of our last day with nothing scheduled and headed down to the Kemah Boardwalk. That’s a picture of Kathy looking out toward Galveston Bay at the endless line of huge container ships sailing past. We enjoyed a great seafood lunch at Landry’s. Then we went further south to Galveston. I’m standing on the beach there with the Gulf of Mexico behind me. We didn’t realize how many cool historical homes and buildings there were in Galveston. It was a fun and relaxing day.

Finally this morning, after all of the scans, tests, and preparation, I started my first round of PRRT. There’s a picture of my recliner where everything was administered and a look at my view out the window. They started the amino acid drip first, which is administered to protect my kidneys. That caused an immediate flushing episode that was pretty uncomfortable, and caused intermittent flushing over the next four hours. 30 minutes later they started the PRRT drip, which only lasted 30 minutes. That was completely uneventful and had no noticeable side effects. When the PRRT was done, they did a scan.

Every hour or so I got a dose of anti-nausea meds because the amino acids were also making me queasy. That’s fairly common. After a couple more hours I had another scan, and the tech said she could see that the uptake of lutetium into my tumors was good. So the drug has been delivered and now we need to hope and pray those little radioactive isotopes get in there and toast my cancer cells.

We’re back at the hotel now and I’m feeling relieved, fatigued, and a little uncomfortable all over. I’m really happy that Kathy is here to help take care of me. Things are a little crazy because we have to stay in separate beds, use separate bathrooms, not come near each other and she can’t come into contact with anything that I’ve worn or handled. Friday they’ll send a tech to the hotel room to scan everything for radiation. Anything that’s “hot” will have to be bagged up, packed away, taken home with us and left to “cool off” for a prescribed period of time. Fun.

Tomorrow and Friday I’m confined to the room since I can’t be around anyone else, but I do go in for a follow-up scan each morning. These scans won’t measure the success of the therapy per se, just the radiation uptake and to make sure that my kidneys are eliminating the excess radiation. We’ll only know how successful this has been over time and after additional treatments.

Well, if I wasn’t tired before, I really am now after writing this. Thanks for reading and 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.