ATTACK ON THE LIVER WAR FRONT: BATTLEFIELD REPORT
We won’t know efficacy results for a while (so that is still very much in finger crossing, hoping & praying territory!) but in terms of the procedure and side effects it was a very successful day!
The day started out with a few bits of stress… First of all, I had to stop drinking and eating anything by 5:00 AM. I am addicted to coffee but I get up at 4:00 AM for pills everyday anyways… so no problem… my pill alarm went off at 4:00 AM. I made coffee & poured myself a steaming delicious mug, took my pills and then… I fell asleep. I woke with a start at 5:15 AM. Doh! I guess no coffee for me!
I needed to get to the hospital for check-in at 10:00 AM. So there was plenty of time to get ready. Plenty of coffee-less time… Ugh. Oh well, juggling coffee vs. trying to save the right side of my liver… the liver won.
Uber got me to the hospital a half-hour early (I am super anal about that – always envisioning a bad luck car crash or traffic jam happening on an important day) – and I walked up to the check-in desk. “Sorry Mr. Marsilje… you were supposed to be here at 7:00 AM… you missed all your scans and now you are so late… your procedure had to be canceled…”
My heart stopped. My voice shaking said in shock “They called me yesterday! They told me to be here at 10:00!” My hands fumbled for my phone and I opened my official UCSD phone app – it clearly showed that my procedure was scheduled for 11:00 AM. “See – my procedure is at 11:00 and they told me to check in an hour early”. The receptionist gave a cursory glimpse at my phone but repeated her message. I wasn’t sure what to do beyond ask for her manager. “Oh wait! Never mind! Wrong patient, you’re fine – sorry!” she now said with a friendly smile. My pulse lowered back down below 200 and I took the paperwork to fill out. All this without coffee mind you, I was really hoping that the morning would turn out better than it started! My hope for balance in the Universe had seldom been higher!
Luckily, as far as I can tell so far, my hope was fulfilled!
The rest of the morning & day went great! I went back into pre-op, they got me ready for the procedure and I entered the operating room. One slight difference from the “practice session” mapping procedure we did 2 weeks ago was that I was almost fully awake for the actual Y90-SIRT procedure yesterday! They gave me some local anesthetic to numb the required areas and some mild drugs to make me slightly high – but I was awake for the entire 2-3 hour procedure watching the entire thing commence on multiple TV screens. They kept me awake so that I could dutifully follow directions of when/how to move/breath to facilitate their injection of the radioactive particles into the various nooks & crannies of my tumor filled liver. Team work indeed!
I felt absolutely no pain or discomfort. When done, they wheeled me up to post-op and I laid there bored for a couple of hours. I played on my phone when I could (which was annoying the very nice post-op nurse because it was messing up my blood pressure machine cuff which kept telling the post-op floor my heart was stopping). They wheeled me down to the nuclear medicine dept. once to take a specialized scan to make sure only my liver was radioactive and nothing else that shouldn’t be glowing successfully wasn’t. I couldn’t see this TV screen but they seemed happy with the results. In this kind of situation if they’re happy, I’m happy.
Throughout the procedure and afterwards I felt perfectly fine. As I said, no pain or discomfort. No nausea. No anything – I couldn’t tell in the slightest bit that at that moment my liver was being shot with high dose beta-emitter radiation! The hardest part (in addition to the boredom) was that I had to lie perfectly still, completely flat on my back. This is to prevent hemorrhaging to death since they had accessed a very major artery. It was uncomfortable to lie that way but I figured it was for a good cause.
My wife picked me up. I was famished and looking forward to a pizza. So much so I suggested that we go out for a family & friends pizza dinner. She wisely suggested that I had just had radio-surgery and that that was a stupid idea no matter how good I thought I felt. As usual, she was right.
I got home, had my pizza there, talked to my oldest daughter who at one point said I was talking crazy (I guess they gave me a few stronger drugs than I had realized in the hospital) and I promptly fell asleep for 12 hours.
Today I woke up, still feeling fine and once again famished – which I think is a great sign! Today (& probably tomorrow too) I plan to take it easy as I continue to have high dose radiation being emitted inside my belly. I am a little tired but not too bad. My main goal since this blog is now published is to continue my binge watching of “The Expanse” on Amazon which if you like SciFi – is a fantastic show!
So all in all I have been thrilled so far with my Y90-SIRT experience based upon side effects etc. (well except for the no coffee & near cardiac arrest at check-in desk parts… but those aren’t the Y90-SIRT’s fault!). Of course the real proof in the pudding is how well the procedure works on the tumors – I’ll let you all know how that turns out when I know… but I am feeling optimistic!