The Big Day or Lutetium Treatment Number One

After a long wait the big day finally arrived and it started early. The appointment letter said to arrive at 8am so we were up at 6am to catch a train.

We arrived promptly at The London Clinic.

And went to reception to check in. Not surprisingly the first person we saw was a lady who could help us settle our account. I wasn’t really surprised and in many ways more surprised that they hadn’t asked for it before now. Once that was done I was taken to my room which was very nice with a TV, private bathroom, an IPAD to control the blind and room temperature.

We ordered some coffee and I was thinking about breakfast, well I had been up a while by now. Some nurses came in and took some blood and had 2 goes at fitting a cannula, no joy but the said they would return 😖.

Coffee arrived along with biscuits and drinks for the day, because of the radiation everything was disposable.

The coffee was much needed.

Another nurse appeared carrying the cannula set; round two was about to begin.

With much squirming from me the nurse managed to get the cannula in and I was set for treatment.

And now the waiting…….

It would seem that that Lutetium is made in Southampton and then couriered to the hospital, so initially I was told treatment would be about 1pm and that soon slipped to 2pm.

In the meantime I had other things to worry about.

I had told the doctor that I had Shingles and so she had to go and seek advice, this lead to much head scratching and conversations around how to manage the Shingles and any other issues.

For a while I was worried that treatment would be cancelled but eventually we got to a point where we could proceed.

I was to immediately have a boost of Dexamethasone steroid to help combat the shingles and I would also be prescribed an anti viral tablet called Aciclovir which I would take for a week.

We spent time discussing pain management with the outcome being that I would take Morphine Slow Release Tablets (MST) twice a day for 2 days and also take Paracetamol and Ibuprofen as well to combat any pain. The doctor was concerned that the Lutetium would cause pain in my bones.

Around 2pm and the Lutetium arrived in my room along with the consultant and a physicist. By this time I was hooked up to a drip and was having saline solution put into my arm.

The Lutetium was a in a metal case and looked heavy, I guess it was made of lead. The heavily protected syringe was taken out of the box and about 30ml of a clear solution was added to a chamber on the IV.

It was all rather anti climatic after the long wait, it took about 5 minutes for the solution to go into my arm and then I was back on the straight saline solution.

A reading of my radioactivity was taken using some kind of Geiger counter and another reading would be taken later in the day before discharge.

I then had a two hour wait.

About 4.30 the physicist returned and took a second reading, he said things were looking good and that he just needed to do some calculations before I could go home. I gather that from the two readings he was able to calculate the rate of decay and how fast my body was flushing out the radiation and from that would be able to calculate how long I had to sleep separate from Barbara etc.

By this time Barbara had returned from a short shopping trip and was allowed in my room although she had to sit behind a screen to protect her from the radiation.

The physicist returned with a letter for us that told us we had to sleep apart for four night and to try and keep arms length apart when sat on the sofa etc. I was not allowed near small children and pregnant women.

We were also advised to take the train home as it meant that Barbara would not have to sit so close to me which we did.

We made it home without incident and I was feeling fine.

Lets hope it stays that way.