Yesterday morning Lee and I drove up to Tucson to visit with Dr. Z, the Interventional Radiologist (IR) that was “out of network”, and the only IR in southern Arizona that utilizes the latest technology for dealing with nasty liver tumors. After lunch we visted my oncolgist, Dr. P.
We had a very good meeting with Dr. Z. She indicated that based on the position of the tumor I was an excellent candidate for Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) using the radioactive isotope Yttrium-90 (Y-90). In this procedure they inject microscopic resin beads (1/3 the width of a human hair) containing the Y-90 into the blood stream feeding the bastard tumor. Yes, that’s right boys and girls….they’re gonna nuke that fucking tumor. The drinks are on me!!!!! Woo Hoo! They block the blood flow out of the tumor to isolate it from the surrounding tissue. So they kill the bad guys and leave my good liver tissue and adjacent organs unscathed. This is outpatient surgery, arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon…usually. Other than the “glow in the dark” aspect, side effects are normally mild. It is not a given that it will work, overal SIRT success rates are about 60%. But based on the location of my tumor, Dr. Z is thinking more in the 80% chance of tumor annihilation. Oh I like the sound of that, let’s say that again…tumor annihilation.
But before we all get too excited, this does not cure me, it is not killing my cancer. By eliminating my biggest and natsiest tumor it will buy me more time. I will still have Stage IV cancer, tumors can pop up any where. I’ll gladly take the additional time, after all, my public demands it. Everyday I remain alive is one day closer to an immunotherapy cure.
Before the procedure I’ll have another PET/CT scan and an angiogram. Then a week before the actual procedure, they will do a dry run to find the best route to the tumor site and to identify all exits to block any seepage. During this process there is a slight chance they will discover problems that will cause them abort the procedure.
After the PET/CT scan we will have more information regarding the effectiveness of my current chemo, Lonsurf. If it’s still working, a decision will have to be made when to resume it based on the SIRT. Lots of tests and decisions yet to be made, but at least we are moving forward.
And now for something completely different…