Lutetium No 4

Second time in 4 days that I am heading up to London, this time it is for my 4th Lutetium treatment.

The Zoledronic Acid treatment I had on Tuesday went OK but I have been suffering with some side effects. The main thing is I have been feeling very tired and have also been having chills. There is increased pain in my lower back although it could be my kidneys as they are recognised as side effects.

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We arrived just after eight and was shown to room three; I feel like this is my room as I am in here every-time I come up.

The nurses were soon in to fit a cannula and take my observations which were all fine.

And then around midday my doctor arrived and we had a quick catch up.

She wanted to hear how I had been and what else had been going on since I last saw her in December.

That done she explained that they were going to differ the process for giving me the Lutetium, mainly because they had a new lead lined box that helped protect the staff from the effects of radiation.

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The box had been developed at Guys hospital and they were looking to bring it to the London Clinic and I was the guinea pig.  As well as my radio oncologist, there was a physicist and his boss in attendance with a Geiger-counter to check radiation levels and to see how much protection the box gave them.

Inside the green box was syringe pump which could be set so that the lutetium was injected into the drip at a set rate.

Here is a view from above.

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You can see a groove in the perspex and in the right side of the box, this is where the tubing would make it’s way outside of the box.

And the picture below shows a tray which holds a syringe with the flushing solution connected to a three way junction.  The purple coloured cylinder is what fits over the syringe while it is in transit in a lead box, it looked fairly heavy so I guess it is lead as well.

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So overall the process of administering the Lutetium was a little slower as they went through the steps of using the new box but it seemed effective and the physicist with the Geiger-counter kept making happy noises and nodding his head with a smile.

Well they should be well protected in the future.

As for me I was getting the full effect of the radiation and would be in a kind of isolation for the next few days.

I was given a radionuclide isotope Lutetium – 177 with an activity of 7400 MBq and my exposure rate was 18 microSieverts per hour at 1 metre.  The isotope has an effective half life of 3 days.

In terms of isolation I was to avoid close contact greater than 30 minutes, which means we keep our distance and sit at either end of the sofa.  It also means we sleep in separate beds for 4 days.

And then it was back to waiting, throughout this process Barbara is not allowed in the room and so she went off shopping to console herself.  I then had a few hours to wait while the Lutetium worked it’s way around my body.

Come 4 pm I was given the all clear and we headed home.  I was feeling fine and was hoping that the Lutetium was doing it’s stuff.

Back on Monday for the Gamma Radiation Scan.