Raindrops and Sunbeams

Across the finish line!

Posted on: November 21, 2010

Taken a while, but wanted to finish up this eventful story with the last installment!

Last Tuesday, we hit the road early – 6:30 am – to head to Richmond for my ‘real thing’ treatment of Zevalin.  We were really glad for the HOV lane this time…it was a real timesaver! Got to Richmond in our usual 1 1/2 hours and by now the parking/getting to the right place in the hospital was old hat to us.

Got to the Nuclear Medicine department and signed in…and of course they had me in the computer for 11 am….but I knew Dr. Fratkin had a scan scheduled for first thing – so I just said to let them know I was here. Sure ’nuff, they knew I was there on time, regardless of the computer.

Went back to the same room as the week before – same machine. Nice heated blankets – got two of them this time. And I waited for the camera to again clear my face, so I could watch the screens. They had moved them to the left of the machine….and they were a bit further away, but not impossible to see. I could see scattered lit up bits, which I just dismissed as ‘background clutter’….and the scan was mostly dark – which was a good thing! Then the camera reached my mid-section – where I knew my liver and spleen were….and where all this stuff started out…..and there it was….a rather large cluster of lit up bits. Too many to be random….all gathered together in my mid-section. Made a mental note about that, and continued to watch….and the rest of the scan was dark with some ‘clutter’ bits here and there.

After the scan, they wanted me to go right up to the Bone Marrow clinic for my Rituxan…but I requested that a doctor come and explain to me what I had seen on the screen during the scan. Ah…the doctor was not on the floor….and everyone kind of tiptoed around, not talking to me. Finally one of the techs came in….and asked what my concerns were. I told her…the suspicious cluster of lit up bits on the scan. And since they were targeted to zoom in on the CD-20 antigenon the B-cells….was this not concerning? She (and I knew she would) said it was more of a ‘doctor kind of question’.  Right… she assured me that Dr. Fratkin would be there for the Zevalin later that day, and could I wait til then? I agreed.

On the the 7th floor….and the infusion room. No worries here, as I knew I would most likely have no reaction to the Rituxan at all. And I was right. I read my book, snacked on my popcorn and bagel chips – my dear husband had lunch….and long about 2 pm, the Rituxan was all done. They called down to the nuclear medicine and let them know I was now done…and they said they were on their way up.

They came in with a rolling cart with all sorts of interesting stuff on it – and we all were ushered off to another room – being radioactive stuff – best to do this by ourselves.  First tho….my question….the lit up bits. Dr. Fratkin admitted that they were concerning, but he was hoping it was more that the lit up bits were being moved out of my body. Nope, wasn’t buying that one. But….to me – if they were the ‘bad guy cells’ – it was proof that the Rituxan/Zevalin trial did exactly what it should, and found them and zeroed in on them. And…..the ‘real thing’ I was about to get would for sure get rid of them for good.  General consensus was that we were all glad I was getting the Zevalin!

On the rolling cart was a plexi-glass box. Interesting…..the Doc explained that they had discovered that the plexiglass shielded better than metal – and there was less ‘scatter’ of any radioactive particles using it. Amazing! I would have never thought that. The box was neatly labeled “Zevalin Delivery System” – I loved that! The syringe with the Zevalin (the Ytrium90 part) was in one side of the box with an additional plexiglass ring around it – and on the other side was another syringe with plain saline in it. The third side was facing me, and was attached to my port. At that point, it became just like last week – a little bit of the Zevalin….little bit of the saline….back and forth til it was gone. Then he shut off my side, ran some saline into the Zevalin side, and then re-opened my side to put that in….making sure I got every last drop of Zevalin.

After that….I was disconnected from it all….and all the trash went in those bright yellow hazmat bags….and then….and here I thought I’d gone into a time travel back to the ‘end of the world’ movies from the 50s – the doc brought out a gieger counter! And it was all beat up like it had been in use since the 50s! Now that was surreal. Worse….he held the wand over me….and I ticked! Creepy! The amount I was giving off was very minimal…it was more the idea of it than the actuality….but still….

Then – get all ready, shoes on….and off we went home. We did get home several  hours earlier than last time….but then we started earlier, and there was no scan afterwards, as the Ytrium90 is invisible to a scanner…

And since then? I was glad I had the prescriptions I had requested…..needed the nausea meds more than I would have thought. Was kind of shakey and feeling wierd that night. Had a few more bouts of nausea, but controlled with the meds….and a bit of pain…just like last week, also well taken care of by the meds.

Now, it’s Sunday….and I’m feeling really good. Could have more energy, but I expected that….and now we watch the blood counts to make sure they don’t tank…..that’s coming up Wednesday, just before we leave for a MOST welcome Thanksgiving celebration with family! I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am this year….for the hand of God that has guided and helped me through this whole thing…..and I know will continue to do so!

Just look at all those sunbeams!!!

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4 Responses to "Across the finish line!"

Glad you’re finished with all of that – can’t wait to hang out for Thanksgiving!

You heading to Raleigh for Thanksgiving? Come by the shop if you can to say Hi! If not Happy Thanksgiving!

If I were
a red balloon,
I’d fly so free;

Above every housetop,
Above every tree;

Beyond every dark cloud,
Without one care;

Never to return again,
‘til I ran out of air!

Hello, Trish, yes, we thank God for your recovery! I am having another lymph node biopsy Dec. 7 and if NHL has turned more aggressive, I am considering Zevelin, too. What was it like in the beginning? Thanks for sharing, Diane

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  • Diane: Hello, Trish, yes, we thank God for your recovery! I am having another lymph node biopsy Dec. 7 and if NHL has turned more aggressive, I am consider
  • Larry A. Thompson: If I were a red balloon, I’d fly so free; Above every housetop, Above every tree; Beyond every dark cloud, Without one care; Never to r
  • Jenny: You heading to Raleigh for Thanksgiving? Come by the shop if you can to say Hi! If not Happy Thanksgiving!

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