Raindrops and Sunbeams

..and the ball is rolling!

Posted on: October 23, 2010

Last Thursday, my dear hubby and I made the trek to Richmond for the consult with the doctor from the Nuclear Medicine department. Early start to the day, as we had to be there at 9:30 am….and it’s just about a two hour trip. By 7 am, we had filled the van with gas, hit the bank for some cash, and stopped at Hardees for their most excellent bacon, egg and cheese biscuit, and were on the road. For once, the HOV lane proved to be a Godsend, as traffic was awful! We cruised up on that lane and sailed past all the traffic jams, and made it thru the tunnel before the traffic caught up….sweet!

Funny about the parking at the Massey Cancer Center – last time we were sent clear around to the other side of the hospital – which was the wrong side for where we were going. This time, we decided to park at the main hospital entrance – which turned out to be wrong too….we needed the middle! Strange to think that there are so many different parking entrances! Ah, well, we needed that brisk morning walk! We did get kind of lost in the lobby, trying to find where we should go…..and a very nice gentleman walked up, asked where we needed to go, and then, instead of just telling us how to get there, he took us there! Every single person we have met on staff at Massey has been amazingly considerate and helpful – a refreshing change!

We didn’t have to wait too long to get checked in and get this week’s flavor of wrist band (green). Then we moved on to the hallway of the Nuclear Medicine department, and waited outside the ‘consultation room’. This is always when I wished I had thought to bring along a book…makes the waiting times go faster. I’ll be taking one next time!

Then we met Dr. Fratkin – who struck me as a very elegant, old-school gentleman. He ushered us into the room, and proceeded to explain the process of getting the Zevalin treatment again – because the protocol had changed. The very first step is to have a bone marrow biopsy – for if (and they don’t expect any) there is cancer there – it has to be below a certain percentage, or the treatment is put off. The second step is a trial run. Basically, I will be getting an infusion of Rituxan, which was the ‘immunological’ part of my chemotherapy I received for those 6 months. He assured me that even though I had had a bad reaction to this before, the fact that it has now been months since I received it, there would most likely NOT be any reaction now….one does not go back to being in the ‘I’ve never had this before’ state. Good news for me! When the Rituxan has been running and has perhaps 10 or 15 minutes left, then they will add the radioactive isotope to the mix. For the trial run, it will be a kind that they can see on subsequent scans, but different than the one I will receive for the ‘real thing’.  I would receive this on a Tuesday. Here’s where the change came in…..they had been doing the scans the day after the infusion, which would have meant staying in Richmond overnight – and two days lost work for my husband ….but now (partly for this very reason), they have found that doing the subsequent scans just before the ‘real thing’ was of equal value as doing them right away, they now don’t require you to stay over, and just do it before beginning the ‘real thing’.

I will return to Richmond the week after this ‘trial run’ – also on a Tuesday – and receive the therapeutic doses of Rituxan and Zevalin. Each of these treatments will take most of a day…what with full body scans and the infusion itself….definitely days to bring a good book to read! Maybe some crocheting too… Once the infusion is done, I can go home….and I am DONE!

The doctor says (how creepy is this?) I will be very slightly radioactive for a little while, until my body completely flushes it out of my system, along with any and all of the ‘bad guy’ cells that may be lurking there. No huge precautions to take, other than maybe stay away from close crowded places for a few days. He emphasized that I am not  giving off anything close to dangerous levels, more like the levels we receive every day just from walking around outside in the sunshine – but it is out of an abundance of caution….good for me and for those around me. They expect I will have NO side effects, there will be none of the things associated with radiation – no hair loss, no anything…woohoo! The only thing that probably will happen is that at some point in the following 12 weeks, my blood counts may crash….so I will be having a blood count done every week for those 12 weeks….to keep tabs, and to deal with it if it happens.

All in all, what I see is God literally showering down flood of sunbeams with this treatment….not a raindrop in sight!

First step coming up on October 29…..I’ll post how that goes….


1 Response to "..and the ball is rolling!"

Waahoo! Sounds great!! Let us know how everything goes!

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