Lutetium Treatment 3

Back home after a long day at the hospital, well The London Clinic to be precise.

The day started early and we had chosen to get a taxi to the hospital as I couldn’t face the train journey in rush hour with the brace on although with the power of hindsight it may have been the better option as the taxi took nearly two hours to get to the hospital with all the rush hour traffic.

So eventually we arrived and checked in, we grabbed a quick coffee before we were shown to my room.

And then as usual nurses and other people started to arrive to do blood tests, fit the cannula, and so on.  For me the main thing was getting my breakfast order in as I knew they were not the quickest and by now I was feeling peckish!

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At about 11 am my Radiation Oncologist arrived and she asked me how I was and so we chatted for about 15 minutes as we caught up on my back and other things since the last time I had seen her.  She then asked the duty doctor to give me a quick check over.

The duty doctor listened to my chest and breathing and then gave me a quick check-over.

All good, or so I thought.

My Radiation Oncologist returned and said that I had an irregular heart beat but we would still go ahead with treatment!

Well if my heart wasn’t beating fast before it was now!

A nurse appeared with an ECG machine and I was hooked up up to it and a paper print out spewed forth from the machine.  My Radiation Oncologist looked at it and said all looked good, there was a minor irregularity but nothing to be concerned about and she would add it to my notes.

By now I was hooked up to the drip and a saline solution was slowly dripping into me.

And then the physicist arrived carrying a small white box and while it was small you could tell by the way he handle it that it was heavy.  It was heavy as it was lead lined to protect everyone from what was inside. And what was inside was my small syringe of Lutetium 177.

The photograph below shows a picture of the drip with a white cylinder attached to it, this is partially filled with saline solution and then the Lutetium is added to the saline.  The cylinder is then topped up with saline.

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Once everything is ready then I was switched over to the second drip with the Lutetium and it started to flow down the tube and into my veins.  The actual infusion of the Lutetium doesn’t take long at all.

For those that like a little detail I received radionuclide therapy and the isotope was Lutetium 177 with an activity of 7400 MBq.  The measured exposure rate was 14 microSieverts per hour at 1 metre.  The effective half-life of the isotope with in the patient is 3 days.

While I think I understand all of the previous paragraph I will do a little reading up on this so I fully understand what has been written.

And then it was all over.

It was barely midday and the treatment part of the day was over, now it was time to let the treatment settle into my body and make sure there were no immediate side effects.  It was also time to let the radiation decay a little so I could join the general population and make my way home.  I was told I would be able to leave around 3.30.

To me that meant nap time!

Nap time included a number of interruptions as different people checked I was OK, and an interruption that I didn’t mind which was lunch which consisted of an Irish Stew that I had chosen early.  Because of the radiation all of my food and drinks is served in disposable containers and with disposable cutlery as regular crockery and cutlery would become radioactive over time.

So while the Irish Stew didn’t look too tasty served in a plastic container it was actually very nice.

The day ended on a little high-note as a copy of the results from the blood test I had in the morning were given to me.  And the good news was that my PSA was now 485 down from 655 a week earlier.

So to me this looks like very good news and is a good indication that the Lutetium was working.  My Radiation Oncologist had said that I will have a PET scan after treatment 4 and then do a full review of where we are in terms of my cancer and what needs to be done next.  We may roll straight into treatments 5 & 6 or delay them a little.

My own inclination at this time is to complete the course of 6 treatments so that the cancer gets a really good dose of Lutetium/treatment and gets beaten into submission.  I must ask if a further couple of treatments could be done in the future if the PSA starts to rise again and the cancer begins to become active again.

I left the hospital on a high-note with my new PSA of 485 and we made our way home.

We were given a set of rules to follow for the next few days while my radioactivity is high and these are mostly to protect my wife from radiation, these include things like not sleeping in the same bed for 3 days and avoiding prolonged close contact with other people for 3 days.  Close contact with babies and pregnant women was to be avoided for 7 days.

It had been a long day by the time we got home and I was ready for a rest!

 

 

 

Hello From Bratislava

Having a great time in Bratislava, it is our third day here and so I thought I would provide a quick update.

Firstly on the medical side.

I did quite a lot of walking on the first two days, going over 10,000 steps on both days and for the most part I was able to manage the pain so that it did not stop me doing what I wanted to do.

The previous Sunday I did less than 1,000 steps so you can see the difference.

We also stopped quite a lot so I could rest.

Also on the first day we did a bus tour which took the pressure off and is a great way to get a feel for a new place.

I did feel it today though so have probably over done it a little. I was struggling a little first thing but some additional paracetamol and oromorph helped.

But we took it as a sign and so adjusted the day so there was less walking.

And what about Bratislava?

Well worth a visit and in many ways exceeded expectations. We were lucky with the weather which was cold but dry.

There is lots to see and do in Bratislava depending on what you like. We like sightseeing and loved the old town, the castle and Soviet Memorial.

The food has also been amazing and has been far better than expected.

I am so pleased that we came away, it has been so worthwhile.

I think for a lot of people with cancer it is about trying to live as much of a normal life as possible and for me that normal life involves travel.

It is high risk to travel and I do a risk assessment before every trip and a big part of that is looking internally at how I feel both physically and mentally.

Physically my back is a problem and I don’t want to make it worse so we packed light and begrudgingly I let Barbara do most of the heavy lifting of bags on and off the airplane. So very much a team effort and I am thankful for her help and support.

Of course it is good for both of us to be away together and to get real quality time with each other.

Mentally I was ready for the break away and am still very much on top of things in my head. My attitude is more about how we can do these trips and how we can do it safely.

So we are looking forward to our next trip abroad which will be to Slovenia at New Year. We have learnt some lessons from this trip and they will make the next one a little easier.

Off On An Adventure!

Here I am sat in the departure lounge at Stansted Airport, things have gone remarkably well so far. Next stop Bratislava!

We got through security fairly quick and easy.

Time spent prepping the packing for security is time well spent, liquids and things sorted and organised. Even more important is having medicines and any supporting documentation sorted and to hand, not that we needed it in this case.

Either the level of radiation from the LU177 treatment has dropped so far it is not detectable or there are no detectors for that type of radiation here?

It also makes things less painful and certainly less stressful. It is also worth using fast track to get through security, it is much quicker as you would expect and even the other passengers in fast track seem better organised.

And we have made it onto the plane, we have seats at the front so loads of legs room but not very wide.

So far the pain has been manageable although I will be taking some pain killers once we are airborne.

So just going to sign off on this post.

More later from Bratislava 👍😎.