We are back in China to have some radiation seeds implanted into my tumours at the Renkang University Hospital at Houjie, Dongguan. It is a very nice new hospital, but not as nice an area as Guangzhou. The rooms are suites, deluxe or normal – we have the latter, but it is very comfortable and has a balcony, so very light and bright, a bit like a very large hotel room. We don’t need 2 or 3 rooms with a kitchen, seeing we are not going to be here forever. The 15th floor where we are is the VIP floor, and has its own lift, so we assume it is just for westerners.
All the services are performed here except for PET scans, which we still have at the Military Hospital in Guangzhou.
The Doctors here seem very good, and the day I arrived had an ECG, then had blood taken and everything checked over by Doctor Li, my ward Doctor. He arranged for me to have another PET scan on Monday morning, and after we get the results of that we will have a meeting with all the Doctors concerned. Doctor Wang, my oncologist from Guangzhou came to see me and gave me a big hug.
About 3 or 4 people from Adelaide and one from New Zealand are here.
We had great news from our Doctor from our previous treatment, Dr Wang. He looked at the PET scan we had on Monday and told us that the tumours have actually got smaller than when I left China in January.
So I will have 50 radio seeds (Brachytherapy) injected into the 4 tumours, hopefully tomorrow afternoon, which are supposed to give up to 95% success rate.
We met up with our very good friends who are also here for continuing treatment. It’s great to have friends along to share this exciting journey we are all taking. We also have some delightful dining and shopping trips together.
Yesterday (Thursday) afternoon I had a two and a half hour operation to insert 50 radio-active seeds into 5 areas in my body, 3 in the back and 2 in the front. This was done under CT scan, so I had to lie perfectly still for the entire time, other than turning over from the back to the front. I was not in extreme pain, as one other patient warned me, and the worst was the front – but all in all no so bad. Today I feel like I have been hit by a truck, I guess that was because they have to use a degree of force to get the needles in.
3RD VISIT TO CHINA
We are back in China for treatment again, this time initially at the University Renkang Hospital in Houjie, Dongguan, about 2 hours from Hong Kong, then onto hospital by private car transfer.
We are here to have DC-CIK cellular immune therapy to make my immune system function better at recognising cancerous cells and destroying them before they can become tumours. The first few days were taken up with blood tests and injections to bring up my white cells. Had the blood taken yesterday for the immuno-cell therapy (Saturday). Were driven to Guangzhou Military Hospital and went into the Centre for Cell-Biological Therapy and Research. They put one IV line in left arm which was connected to a machine, which centrifuges the blood and removes only the white cells and then returns all other blood products remaining + saline to make it up to the amount taken, back into the IV line in the right arm. This procedure took about an hour to collect between 80-100ml of white cells. Whilst this was happening they took Gerry to look through the window of the laboratory which is sterile with completely filtered air, germ free environment, where they culture both blood cells and stem cell. When I was finished they showed me how they take the centrifuge and all lines used, out of the machine so that I would be comfortable that my blood would never come into contact with anyone else’s blood.
I return back to the Military Hospital in Guangzhou on 24th May, and on 26th May after being cultivated for 12 days in the laboratory, the cultured blood will be reintroduced into my body over 6 days at 250ml per day, that equates to about 1.5 litres – can you believe that!
We will go back for the same thing in 3 months (August), then every 6 months for 2 years.
4TH VISIT TO CHINA
Once again we returned to University Renkang Hospital for the DC-CIK therapy. The same treatment – at the Guangzhou laboratory take 80/100 ml blood (this took about one hour), cultured for 12 days, then reintroduced into your body over 6 days. 2 days before the re-infusion and continuing throughout the treatment, I was given Recombinant Human Interlukin-2, which will increase the effectiveness of the DC-CIK.
During our 10 days ‘off’, we took the opportunity of doing a bit more exploring around Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Humen. This is a very interesting country, with so much to offer as a tourist.
As well, the Western patients here form a very social bond and it is great to share our experiences with people from Australia, New Zealand and USA.
We are very fortunate that now we have three English speaking interpreters – Tingting, Lily and Cassie, all delightful young ladies.
5TH VISIT TO CHINA
We returned for the 3rd of 4 three monthly infusions of DC-CIK. We are always welcomed very warmly by staff and our floor doctor, Dr Li, who is a real sweetie. They advised us that the protocol has changed slightly, now we go to the Guangzhou Laboratory have the 80/100 ml of blood taken, although this is becoming more difficult due to my veins becoming smaller. They then tried inside by elbow, my ankle, but eventually returned to my wrist. Did I mention that I have a phobia of needles! Anyway, after 3 hours we achieved the desired amount of blood product. The new protocol is culture for 15 days, then reinfused over 3 days – which is the same amount of time combined as before. As before, I commenced infusing the Recombinant Human Interlukin-2 on the 13th day to the end of the 3 days of reinfusion.
We had a discussion with Dr Wang, and he would like me to have a Pet Scan on my next three monthly they visit in February 2012. They may try to use the laboratory here to take the blood rather than go to Guangzhou, as they can use a smaller needle here, but this is to be decided at the time.
During our time off we spent 3 nights in Guangzhou, and 2 nights in Dongcheng. We stayed at the Sofitel Golf Resort, which was really great, so quiet and serene, but only a 20 RMB taxi ride away from the main town. Doncheng is a much more pleasant town than Houjie, which is very industrial. As well there is quite a large expat community there and so many shops with Western goods and food. We found a great English Pub ‘One for the Road’ which serves excellent Western style food.
The first night we arrived there was a patient get together, where everyone brought different items of food and put it one the table to share. It was quite nice to speak to the other Australians, New Zealander and a few from USA.
A couple of nights later it was Thanksgiving, so the hospital bought a turkey and the rest of the patients provided the gravy, accompanying sauce, roast veggies, banana bread and apple crisp (crumble). The hospital put our group in the VIP room of the staff canteen and brought in a lot of Chinese food, and the patients, doctors and nurses came together in a wonderful evening. Some of us bought some Aussie wine along and everyone was happy and full of food!
Caught the ferry from Humen direct to the Departures Hall at Hong Kong International Airport.
To see 2012 updates click here https://lorrainevilladon.wordpress.com/china-2012/