On attending the second chemotherapy in this most recent course of treatment, everything was well with the blood results. The oncologist commented that I appeared to be in good health and vitality, and asked how I was coping. Not too bad at all I said, apart from tiredness and diarrhoea interspersed with constipation.
As I always say, I make a great effort when attending hospital and GP appointments, as I believe that to give the GP or consultant a good impression of your “fight” and resilience when you have cancer, and that you are attempting to be in the best of health and strength that you can be in, according to your circumstances, sends out a very direct and positive message to them.
The oncologist said that I had undergone enough chemotherapy by now, to indeed, “kill an elephant” (in his words) and that I was still here looking a fair picture of health. We all laughed and I remarked as I have done so in the past, “I told you I was made of tough stuff!” He knows that!
I had been reading up on a cancer treatment named SIRT and according to Beating Bowel Cancer`s website, SIRT – Selective Internal Radiation Therapy, is a novel treatment for liver metastases. It involves millions of very tiny beads (microspheres) being injected into the major blood vessel that supplies the liver with oxygen and nutrients. Each bead is small enough to reach the tiny blood vessels in and around the active tumours, where they give out concentrated doses of direct radiation specifically to these tumours.
The treatment is then active within the liver for about two weeks of continuous treatment.
SIRT is only suitable for patients where the liver is the only site of disease, or the major site of disease. Other factors have to be taken into consideration, and importantly, your liver needs to otherwise be in good condition and working properly.
SIRT is not used routinely in the first line treatment of advanced bowel cancer – chemotherapy and biological therapy are currently the treatments of choice.
I asked the oncologist if this may be a possibility for me in the future, and he replied that I did have three tiny metastases on the lungs, but he did not rule SIRT out altogether.
We carried on to the waiting room, to wait to be called for treatment. Unfortunately we waited four and a half hours to start the treatment. It is a very busy unit and we were told that there had been problems in the chemotherapy pharmacy that led to hold ups in the preparation of treatments being available. So another long day passed by, but we have no option and take all these obstacles in our stride. I am just so grateful that I am able to access this life giving treatment and that for me it appears to be working well once more.