When we were in our late teens or early twenties, my friend, Alex, commented that people feel a need to hug me. Maybe it was after I told her about a professor who randomly gave me a hug, or it could have been when we were new teachers and people would great me with a hug and her with a warm smile and a handshake. We decided that I gave off some sort of “hug me” vibe and she did not. It is something that I have been aware of since then.
Today we met with a radiologist to discuss options for treating Dave’s liver lesions. We have two options. Y90 or chemoembolization. The doctor was very thorough with his descriptions of both and even drew us pictures so that we could better understand. The procedures are similar in many ways but the major difference is what the microspheres are carrying. In Y90, they are carrying radiation which zaps the tumors. Whereas with chemoembolization, the spheres carry chemotherapy drugs (in this case Irinotecan) directly to the tumors. There are different schools of thought on which method is more effective. We are waiting to hear back from Dave’s oncologist, but we are definitely leaning towards Y90. It involves two procedures. The first day, the radiologist goes in and maps the path to the tumors blocking off any arteries where the radioactive spheres shouldn’t go. Afterwards, they inject a fluid which will travel along the desired path to make sure that no more than 20% of the radioactive spheres could make their way to Dave’s lungs. Apparently Dave’s liver is ideal for this kind of procedure even though he had the resection surgery previously. The second time Dave goes in, they would inject the microspheres. For a week afterwards, they recommend that he stay 3-6 feet away from people as a precaution. Follow up scans would be done to see how the tumors are responding. Unfortunately the hospital closest to us is still going through the process of being licensed to perform Y90. The doctor we met with has years of experience at another hospital but Reston Hospital won’t have it until August or September. We would like to start sooner than later, and it can be done at Fairfax, Georgetown, George Washington Hospital, Hopkins, U of Md. and likely others. We are so fortunate to live in an area with so many excellent health care options.
We thanked the doctor, shook hands, and headed out the door. He walked us down the hall a bit and shook hands with Dave again. Then he put his arm around my shoulders and gave me a side hug and wished me well. As I walked away I couldn’t help but wonder what vibe I had given off that made the doctor, who we just met, give me a little hug. Did I seem like I needed reassurance or sympathy? I really hope not.