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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.

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.

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.