Run For Hope in Ft. Collins

The Run for Hope is still going strong. Originally started by one of our group’s founders to support NETs it now provides funds to several cancer foundations.
It is a beautiful and fun event!

This year it will be April 25 at:
Fossil Creek Park
5821 S Lemay Ave.
Fort Collins, CO  80525

Sign Up Here: https://www.active.com/fort-collins-co/running/run-for-hope-2020-2018

Confused about NETs Imaging and Testing?

Before our diagnosis, most of us know absolutely nothing about NETs, much less the testing and imaging used to diagnose and follow the disease.

The Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation recently produced a podcast about this subject.  The podcast is audio, but you can listen to the audio and download pdf files of infographics on this page: https://netrf.org/podcast/episode-2-imaging-testing-and-building-a-care-team/?platform=hootsuite&utm_campaign=HSCampaign

An informed patient is more likely to be their own best advocate.

My Experience with GA-68 and PRRT

As many people know, I have maintained a blog about my experiences with NETs.  People (including Dr. Eric Liu) have suggested that some of those posts should also be on this site.

My posts about the Ga-68 scan and PRRT have been particularly poplular.  So, I have copied them to our blog here. You can click on the post titles to read them

Or you can read them by clicking on the Category “Cy’s Blog Posts” in the category list on the right or simply scroll down the main page.

I hope that you find them of some value,
Cy

November 24 – Meeting

We (Colorado NETs Support Group) had our quarterly meeting yesterday.  There were twelve attendees. Two of the attendees were new to our meetings.

We had no speaker, so we all spoke.  It was a sharing meeting.  Each person shared their history and experiences with the disease as much as they cared to share.  There was an amazing amount of information about the disease, the treatments, the patient’s experience.

The value of such meetings is immense!  Each of us could comment on how hard it is to experience a disease when no one believes you nor can medical people properly diagnose it for years. Even after a proper diagnosis, it can be years before you meet someone with the disease and a shared experience.  Because the tumors often secrete hormones that cause us to look well externally, it can be difficult to convince others that we feel terrible internally.

A sharing meeting allows us to understand that all of us go through these problems…
And we survive! One of our members yesterday was diagnosed 40 years ago!  The sharing allows us to talk to people with shared problems and I find it to be cathartic.

At the end of the meeting, we had veggie snacks, brownies, pumpkin pie and drinks.  Many thanks to those who provided these refreshments.  Also, thanks to Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Hospital for providing a conference room for the meeting.  That is quite important because we are not an official non-profit and we do not collect dues.

Again. thanks to all and
May we all have the best possible outcomes.

NET Cancer Day November 10

Net Cancer Day is November 10.  Lela requested a proclamation from the Colorado Governor’s office for Net Cancer day.

She got it!

This is the official proclamation.

Neuroendocrine (NET) Cancer Day-2019

Let’s hope that more awareness and recognition leads to more and better treatments and to a cure!

November 23, 2019 Meeting

We will be having our next meeting on Saturday, November 23, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Jack Chang MD Conference Room, 2nd floor, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Hospital.

We have not scheduled a speaker.  This will be a sharing meeting.  Lela will bring pumpkin pie!  Our apologies for the short notice.

RSVP please to Lela Selby. lelaselby@msn.com

Net Cancer Awareness Fundraiser for the Healing NET

The Healing NET Foundation has initiated this fundraiser:
Between Oct 1, Rare Cancer (Awareness) Day and Nov 10, NET Cancer (Awareness) Day, The Colorado NETs Support Group is asking for support for Healing NET Foundation in our mission to optimize care for the NET community.
 
This fundraiser originated from an idea Lela had based on a recent school band fundraiser that she saw. Her idea is: 20 reasons to support Healing NET with a $20 donation between now and November 10. 
 
The fundraiser link is: 20 Reasons
Please read that link and consider donating.
 
Thanks,
Cy & Lela

Fourth and Last PRRT Done!

Joe Harris’s cupcakes for celebration
Bang the Gong after the 4th Treatment

Treatment

Yesterday I had the last of the Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Treatment! Wahoo!

For more information about this treatment see my blog here and here.

Side-Effects

Although I have only some fatigue today, I know that I will have a few other symptoms for a some weeks. Most people who have had the treatments tell me that the side-effects got less severe with each treatment (typically four treatment, eight weeks apart). This is my experience as well. There are some patients that have severe side-effects throughout the treatment cycle.

Typical side-effects that I typically experience are bad fatigue, abdominal pain (for me only in the mornings), nausea (only intermittent and light in my case) and joint and muscle pain (arthritis for me) is amplified quite a bit.. As today is only the day after and for me most side-effects are delayed a bit, I won’t know how the treatment effects me and for how long until a few days have passed. I know that some patients are not as lucky as I have been and have experienced dangerous and/or very uncomfortable reactions. A good friend had such a strong histamine reaction a few days after the treatment that she was admitted to the hospital.

Yesterday’s Treatment

Too early (7:00 am), the nurse welcomes me. At this clinic, a nurse is assigned to you and one other patient and shepherds us through the day. I love the nurses who do this. We are well cared for. This clinic does two patients in the morning and two in the afternoon.

The other patient, Paul, is already there. He is from Denver also and this is also his 4th treatment. This is a surprise because, in prior treatments, the other patients have been from out of state.

Our nurse hooks us up for the anti-nausea medication IV, somewhat later an IV of amino acids that are meant to protect our kidneys from the radiation is started. The amino acids will run for more than four hours, before the infusion, during the infusion and after the infusion until we are discharged to go home.

Two or three hours after arrival, we walk to the Nuclear Medicine department, pushing our IV poles before us. There the actual infusion of the radionuclide concoction of somatastatin (octreotide) analog coupled with the radionuclide lutesium-177, known as Lutathera, is hooked into the IV to drip into our arm for about 40 minutes.

After the infusion is done, we take the IV poles and walk back to the clinic where we each get a private room because we are radioactive now. For me, I went by wheelchair because I was quite light headed upon standing up from the infusion chair. That stayed with me for at least and hour and only gradually dissipated after that hour.

After that we wait for a couple hours while we snack and are basically under observation to make sure we aren’t having any strong adverse reaction.

Now the Celebration

I have had the good fortune to meet Joe Harris, Oncology Account Mgr, Advanced Accelerator Applications (company that makes Lutathera) at a couple of conventions. Two weeks ago when he found that I would be having the final Lutathera treatment, he promised to bring cake to the clinic. As you can see from the picture above, he brought cupcakes during the waiting period after the infusion. He brought enough for the patients, the clinic staff and the Nuclear Medicine staff. They were really good!

The clinic has a little tradition of “Banging the Gong” after the 4th treatment.

I have been very fortunate to be treated by such a wonderful group of people.

Known Results

My Dr. says that we cannot perform scans (to determine if the tumors have shrunken or disappeared due to the treatment) for months. This is because the tumors usually swell for a while after they are attacked by the radiation. So…. there will be a CT scan in about three months and the GA-68 PET/CT scan at about six months (the definitive scan).

But, here’s a known result. I have had night sweats and evening chills daily for 10 years. Some oncology nurses call this tumor fever, they can be a misery. They have not happened at all for the past three or four months. Something good has happened!

May we all have the best possible outcome,
Cy