Thursday, February 15, 2007


Okay, some catching up to do ....

On the last day of January Mom and I moved from Potter's House (the bed & breakfast of transplant patients) to the Nebraska House (the Embassey Suites of transplant patients) to get ready for my Bexxar (Bexxar is, essentially, a radiated version of Rituxan, a chemo drug that was part of my protocol last summer) treatment. Since I was going to be radioactive for the next two weeks the manager of Potter's House decided it would be best if I isolated myself as much as possible so as not to incite panic among the other residents when a glowing guest shared their bathroom. The move really wasn't so bad ... we moved from a house about four blocks away to a hotel in the hospital building that, if you've been keeping an eye on Nebraska weather lately, has been more than convenient (who doesn't love rolling out of bed, pulling on sweats and heading down for an MRI?).

The actual Bexxar procedure isn't so difficult and has few side-effects. It's much like going in for chemotherapy (technically speaking). The procedure is done over two days, a week apart. Six people (two from radiation oncology, two from radiation safety, one from x-ray and the nurse) arrive with a cart holding a lead-coated vile of radio-active Rituxan. Over the next two hours I would get a mixture of saline and Bexxar then go home. The first week was the "Cold" dose - they gave me 5 mci (milli-currie -- named after Marie Currie) as a tracer dose to located the tumor and to see how much radiation I retained over the course of the week so they could determine the correct dose to give me. The following Friday and Monday one of the radiation safety guys came to the room and checked out the radiation levels with a Geiger Counter. Interesting fact #239: My mother, who was sleeping ten feet away, got the equivalent of a dental x-ray the first two nights after the Cold dose!

I got the Hot dose the following Thursday. This time they infused me with 65 mic of Bexxar! All that radiation will hopefully find it's way to the tumor and kill whatever is left. Meanwhile, the fatigue and the abdominal pains I developed the first week got worse. And all I could do was use The Today Show, The View and What Not to Wear (I draw the line at Ten Years Younger which comes on right after) as a bad distraction.