Hey there! Long time no post, I know – I’ve been healing and waiting for approval on my radioembolization procedure, which came today. This means my healthcare provider knows I’m about to incur quite a bit of cost by allowing a doctor to insert a handful of radioactive glass beads into my liver. Hey, this is why they make us pay insurance premiums, right? It’s time to settle up, BCBS of NC, have fun with this bar tab.
For those who don’t know what this procedure entails or are too lazy to Google it, allow me to explain: there will be 3 total out-patient operations. The first one will be devoted to mapping out the blood supply to the liver. The docs insert a catheter in my groin and travel up the main artery to scope out the network of veins and arteries and find out which ones go to the tumors. For the second and third procedures, each half (separately) of my liver will have glass beads inserted where the tumors are hiding out. These tiny beads are filled with Yttrium-90 – a material with an effective radioactivity of about 1cm in diameter. The expectation is that the localized radioactivity will nuke the little buggers from within, and minimize the damage done to the surrounding, healthy liver.
After about 12 days or so, the Yttrium-90 isotope will be spent, and the inert beads stay within me for the rest of my life. And that’s that for the time being, and we’ll see how things look after this treatment is complete. Personally I’m looking forward to extending the amount of time without full-body chemotherapy, and I’m already researching alternative treatment options in the hopes I can get my body to fight these cancer cells on their own without having to resort going back to chemo.
One of my good college friends sent me a very interesting video 60 Minutes did on using the polio virus for brain cancer, which might be an option since this research took place at Duke, the same medical network that is taking care of me. It’s not 100% effective – and infecting patients with polio is some scary shit – but it’s a compelling idea.
Generally I’m feeling quite well, apart from the damned neuropathy which hasn’t gone away at all; but I’ve started acupuncture treatment for that, and after the first session I can already start to feel the pinching sensation in my fingertips lessen. it’s a welcome change of sensation.
As far as timing goes, I imagine they’re going to want to get the first procedure in the books pretty soon. I have another MRI scan scheduled already for June 3, with a follow-up appointment with my oncologist to go over the results the following Monday; the docs will definitely want to have a fresh scan to help them figure out where to go to deliver these nasty little presents to my unwelcome visitors.
So, stay tuned for a post about how my body has decided to spend the past 2 months of Spring vacation. Frankly I’ll be surprised if it’s not positive news, as I can’t imagine feeling this good and still have any cancer growing. We shall see in less than 2 weeks.
Keep strong –and thank you so much for being here with me!