Cork University Hospital CUH
My Relapse Story: ICE Cycle 2 – P.E.T. Scan 18th May 2017 (P.E.T. )
Ice Chemo is designed to kill all cancer cells in the blood, plus white cells, stem cells and production of stem cells. I will go under 3 cycles, each cycle takes 3 days in hospital followed by 18 days of no Chemo then cycle 2 18 days of no Chemo then cycle 3
Cycle 1 Completed 13th April 2017
Cycle 2 Completed 5th May 2017
Cycle 3 Confirmed to commence 24th May 2017
A Positron Emission Tomography scan is a type of imaging test. It uses a radioactive substance called a tracer to look for disease in the body. A positron emission tomography (PET) scan shows how organs and tissues are working. This is different than MRI and CT scans. These tests show the structure of, and blood flow to and from organs.
How the Test is Performed
A PET scan uses a small amount of radioactive tracer. The tracer is given through a vein (IV). The needle is most often inserted on the inside of your elbow. The tracer travels through your blood and collects in organs and tissues. This helps the radiologist see certain areas more clearly. The main substance is basically Glucose – cancer cells love sugar so glucose is like a magnet to cancer cells. The cancer cells are tagged by imaging process and rated. This mixture of Radiation and Glucose is called a tracer (In basic terms the radioactive particles race the glucose around the body dumping glucose into cancer sites). The PET detects signals from the tracer. A computer changes the signals into 3D pictures. The images are displayed on a monitor for the Radiologist. The test takes about 2 hours pending on “how deep” the scan is. Basically you are given the tracer and left alone for 1 hour so it can circle your body. The basic initial scan would be classed as normal, this takes about 30 minutes but if the Oncologist wants greater detail the he will tell the Radiologist to go deep.
The scan on 18th of May 2017 was a Deep PET Scan
Not to mislead anyone here but the results of this particular scan is to basically insure that the regime is working well. I had a PET Scan on 24th March 2017 (Number 8 in 3 years) So the team had a very recent PET to compare too. The ICE Chemotherapy as explained is a very aggressive form of Chemo and its task is to kill cancer cells, white cells and stem cells. This does not mean that it has the capacity to eliminate Hodgkin’s completely, Unfortunately Mr Hodgkin’s can hide in the bone marrow itself. In any attempt to destroy HLD the doctors must get 100% of the cancer cells, leaving even .01% left is not enough as cancer cells grow fast and the .01% will multiply fast. P.E.T. scans are a great mapping tool but they can miss tiny areas so some of this is really left to chance or God, There is a time scale and June is now very rapidly approaching
These P.E.T scans are my least favourite scan. There are little side effects but tiredness as your body is pumping the tracer around your body. There is a high level of radiation in the tracer so your instructed to avoid contact with people and small animals but in particular pregnant ladies & young children. Avoiding pregnant ladies is something I have been quiet good at for the past 40 years…
19th of May results are in.
The P.E.T Scan shows that we are making progress but it could be better. The Stage 4 was lungs and liver, unfortunately it appears to be attacking the liver again but this time on to the fatty exterior of the liver. There are also signs of lymphoma to the neck again. The new site in my lower back has shown a serious reduction. So the results hold both positive and negative results
They are going ahead with Cycle 3 of ICE which I had prayed I could miss. So meeting the Transplant team next Tuesday 23rd in St James Dublin then back to Cork to be admitted Tuesday evening to commence ICE Cycle 3. This means that I will have 18 months of Chemo packed into 46 days and only 10 days to recover before Stem Cell Harvest
The pressure is most definitely now on