Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fall Begins With A New Treatment

Last month brought us the beginning of Fall… and the beginning of a new treatment.

Fall is a beautiful time of year.  This year, so far, we have had great weather… Cool nights and warm days… Unfortunately, we have also had the typical high winds occasionally as well.  Oh well, overall it has been a great Fall.

Over the past few months we have been watching and waiting.  As I talked about previously, we have been waiting to hear about this new treatment with Radium 223. After hearing that financing for treatment was approved back in August, we still had to wait to get Doctor approval and an appointment date.  We finally got that around the middle of September… I was scheduled to have blood work done here on September 22, a number of appointments including treatment on the 23rd and had to be back home for my regular oncologists appointment on the 24th. 

After getting up early on the 22nd to get my regular blood work done, we packed up and headed off to Edmonton.

We spent Tuesday night with our son and his family… We had a nice visit, but Wednesday morning came all too soon!  This day was to bring an IV, injection with contrast, a doctors visit, a bone scan and finally treatment.

On arrival at the Cross Institute they started an IV on me so they could inject the imaging contrast and later in the day, the Radium 223.  Then they injected the contrast and we headed off to see the doctor. The first thing he did is asked how I was able to get coverage for this treatment… Although he knew everything about my medical history, he asked me about how I got coverage for prostate cancer and then this drug.  I told him how we came to have WCB coverage and he was quite impressed...lol. After that he explained all about how this treatment works and even some history as to how it came into being.

He also explained that I am only the second person in Alberta to receive this treatment… Prior to me there was a young lady who had been given this for pain relief only… It had been very effective at that.  The reason we had to do the treatment in Edmonton is because he is the only Doctor using it and they are the only place set up to use it…

We talked for quite a while. He also gave us the latest PSA number… It has gone from 55.1 in July to 64.9 in August and was 90.7 on September 22nd.  He explained to Cindy that it still wasn’t anything to worry about, but she questioned that with such a big jump and the increase in pain I’ve been having.  After that he offered to let us see the results of my coming bone scan shortly after it was completed.  He wasn’t going to be there as he had meetings all afternoon, so he arranged for another oncologist to show us.

Cindy and I then had to kill a few hours while the contrast circulated in my body so we just grabbed a bite from the cafeteria then sat and talked until it was time for the bone scan. That went quick and easy. Once it was done we had to wait another 10-15 min before I got the injection of Radium 223.  That took about 10 min.  Shortly after that we were taken to another doctor to see the bone scan…

The doctor explained what we were seeing… A number of areas lit up...those being where the contrast had congregated… He explained that the kidneys and bladder normally show signs because that is where the excess is being excreted by the body… He told us the areas with definite cancer were the left pelvis, which we knew about, and the right pelvis in the ischium as well as an area in my lower back.  I was not shocked at all, as I have been trying to tell the docs I have been having pain there for well over a year now… They kept telling me it was only arthritis… Cindy on the other hand didn’t take the news quite as easily as I did.  In any case, the doctor was very good at explaining it all and answering Cindy’s questions…

We headed out to the car then… We sat there a bit while Cindy vented...then we headed home…

Cindy has done quite well since.  We were in to see our oncology nurse practitioner on Thursday and Cindy was able to vent and have things explained again… It’s going to be tough for a while again… With the rise in PSA and increasing pain in my pelvis and lower back we are very hopeful to get some relief soon.

Over the past 2 weeks, I have been having a fair bit of pain flare in my pelvis and lower back.  This was expected as I had been warned it was very common with this treatment. Unfortunately I have also been having a LOT of nerve pain in my left pelvis and leg.  This pain wasn’t too bad the first week… but has increased significantly over this last week… and it usually happens at night… So I have been up and down through the night taking a lot of extra pain meds with minimal relief. 

The other thing we had to deal with… For the first two days after treatment Cindy and I had to sleep apart and even sit apart to watch tv… I have to stay away from pretty much everybody for a couple of days after treatment.  That wasn’t a good thing for the news we had just heard… But we managed…

Until next time....

Posted by John on 10/13 at 12:41 PM
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