Adventures in Oncology: November 10, 2022

Early in the week, Barnes called and scheduled all of Ernie’s Pluvicto/PSMA-Lutetium appointment, starting January 12, 2023. I wasn’t thrilled with waiting but I was still glad to have them on the books. On Wednesday, I got a call from BJC. Evidently, Ernie’s phone was dead and voicemail was full. Fortunately the nurse tried me. They had a last minute opening the next day! Of course Ernie was supposed to see Vasireddy that day and get his Keytruda infusion. St. Louis said they could hold the appointment for an hour so we tried to get hold of Vasireddy or his nurse to no avail. We decided this was more important so we took the appointment and canceled the Carle appointments.

We hurtled down to St. Louis the next morning. Valet parking was much less chaotic this time. We were a tad anxious. I’m not entirely sure why, but there you go. Ernie got called in on time. I got the treat of seeing my beloved Ben again while I waited. Sadly, because it’s radiation, I couldn’t go back with him.

Afterwards we weren’t entirely sure what to do with ourselves. We drove over to Forest Park and found a place to park. It was a startling beautiful day. Ernie had his list of instructions. We have to sleep in separate beds for three days. If we’re driving, the passenger is supposed to sit in the back seat. They told him if he went to the airport, or even the Arch, he’d set off alarms because of radioactivity. It’s pretty intense. He’s not supposed to use public transportation or be in public much for the first few days. He’s not supposed to hold small children or pets for long for a week.

I guess with regular old garden variety radiation, the radiation passes through you, does what it does to the cells, and then whoosh, it’s gone. With this treatment however, they are injecting the radiation right into you, where it stays, theoretically attaching just to the cancer cells. A whole different radiation ball game.

We’d decided to get a hotel because well, we’re old and tired. Ernie’s a bit fatigued and I’ve been fighting Leo’s cold (he was very sick with a cold last week, even missing a few days work which he is not wont to do, and still struggling with blocked, painful ears). We figured we’d do our standard thing and go out for a couple of drinks then hole up in our hotel room and order food, maybe watch a Hallmark movie. Still not sure what we were doing, we went ahead and checked into our hotel. I’m still kind of amused at the way they tucked a new hotel into an alley, looking right across at the parking garage.

Eventually we decided perhaps we should just stay in so Ernie got some ice and we pulled the cheap wine out of our bag. Yes, we forgot his nausea pills and his pain pills, but remembered the wine!

We were both utterly exhausted. We ordered a couple of sandwiches. We ate and I changed and crawled under the blankets. It was 5:45. We both dozed off but woke up after a bit and watched bad tv and giggled a bit. I waved to him from my bed and told him I loved him, my radioactive boy.

Ben had given us a recommendation for breakfast, but it was not to be. Friday morning was kind of rough. A lot of it looked this.

We got in the car and started for home. I couldn’t get him to drink or eat anything. He’s supposed to be drinking lots of water to flush out the radiation. Once he got sick he felt a little better. I need to restock the vomit bag supply in my purse! We stopped for gas and I got him to eat some potato chips. At least SOMETHING in his stomach.

We weren’t up to wandering but we did take my beloved Old National Road (US 40) up to Effingham before getting on the highway.

Owen stopped by and did a few things around the house. Then he picked some nasturtiums for me because of the hard freeze coming.

We ate some leftovers from the other night and before long I was in my temporary bed. I slept hard.

Today we relax and recover. Fortunately, Ernie is feeling MUCH better today. Crossed fingers that continues…

Onward.