Brian was living a normal life in December of 2001. As a commander with the Frederick County (Maryland) Sheriff's Office, I was close to retirement. One evening in that December I was horsing around with my son Jamison and his brothers; something I have done since they were very young.
I noticed that my right side hurt the next day but didn’t pay much attention to it and shrugged it off as the aches and pains that a 46-year-old man gets when wrestling around with a 20 year old. After several days, though, I realized that the pain was not subsiding and decided that a visit to my family doctor was necessary. He recommended a CT scan after I explained what had happened. The results changed my life forever. A mass was found in my right kidney consistent with a tumor and within two days I was undergoing surgery for it's removal.
My original diagnosis was renal cell cancer but changed some months later to that of carcinoid cancer. If any cancer diagnoses can bring forth a sigh of relief, it was breathed that day. Carcinoid is a very slow growing and usually non-aggressive cancer.
Regular checks with my oncologist soon revealed that the cancer was spreading with my liver being the area causing most worry. At this point in my disease process, I visited a recognized expert in the treatment of carcinoid. Chemotherapy consisting of two orally administered drugs was first suggested but proved to be unsuccessful. After viewing a second set of films of my liver, it was then recommended that I be treated with SIR-Spheres. There were so many tumors found in my liver that surgery was not an option. I decided to dedicate the time needed for my health and retired at that time.
I searched the Internet and found that the SIR-Spheres treatment was being offered at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center (UMGCC), and that a lot of early research into this treatment had occurred there. This was very encouraging, so in July 2005, I made my first contact with the SIR-Spheres clinical coordinator in the Department of Radiation Oncology at UMGCC.
He made an appointment for me to see the assistant professor of Radiation Oncology and the associate professor of Interventional Radiology. Both appointments went well, and the process was begun to prepare for the SIR-Spheres treatment. During this time, and both during and after the treatment, I remained in constant contact with the clinical coordinator. He was very helpful the entire time, answering my many questions and coordinating my visits for tests and follow-up appointments.
I received my first treatment to the right lobe of my liver in October 2005 and the second treatment to the left lobe in December 2005. The treatments were very successful and a marked difference was seen in pre-treatment scans as compared to post-treatment scans. The treatment made me very weak and feverish for three to four weeks, but with a lot of rest, support from my wife and a positive attitude, we got through it. Of course, by the time that I was feeling better after my first treatment, it was time to have the second one done. Considering the alternative to this treatment, the time spent feeling bad was worth it.
Again, I must say that during the time after the treatments when I was not feeling well, the clinical coordinator was very, very attentive. He called me at home several times and took calls from me more times than I can count. He remained very patient with me and was most helpful. The cancer center should consider itself very fortunate to have someone of his caliber on its staff.
I am being considered for treatment of other areas where this cancer has metastasized and still see my oncologist regularly but the most dangerous area has been taken care of for now. I can enjoy life and feel much better knowing that the treatment was successful. We are an active family that enjoys traveling and camping in our RV and have plans to do so often in the years to come. This procedure had given me the fortune to be able to spend more time with my family and my new grandchildren.