November 24, 2010

radioactive piss

It's Thanksgiving eve and we've just finished up another all day experience at MD Anderson.  My brother's van pulls into my driveway to drop me off and he turns around and asks me, "do you mind if I use your bathroom?"

............(My brother's urine is now radioactive.  He was dosed today with Quadramet (samarium 153 SM lexidronam).  It's a radioactive compound that preferentially gets taken up by osteoblastic tumor metastases (translation=tumors that secrete bone-like substance but they don't create healthy bones).  It's a bit of a trojan horse strategy, really.  Once those bony tumors take up the samarium, they get hit with beta particles which knock the tumors back to alleviate bone associated pain.  It doesn't go to any soft tissues so there are infinitely less side effects than standard chemo options.  On the other hand, it doesn't hit the soft tissue tumors like chemo)..........

"Yes, yes, I do," I replied in predictable smart-assed fashion. "You can pee on my lawn and see if you can make a radioactive tracing.....On second thought, the dogs may lick it......but you can pee on my side yard. I don't like those neighbors anyways."

And I laughed a laughter that went straight to my soul.  The image of being 12-years old and writing one's name in the snow while emptying the ol' bladder contrasted starkly with the seriousness of the situation here and now.  Not one of simple mirth, that laughter encompassed all the joy and pain that have been visited upon such occasions during this journey, each with their own costs.  And it felt good to let go of everything, of life, of cancer, of death even if only for the most brief moment of time.  Laughter has been in short supply of late so at that moment, it felt so good to laugh in such a soul reflexive fashion.

My brother opted to use my bathroom over the yard....but I secretly hope that tonight, he sneaks out into his back yard and makes a big J.  The thought brings a smile to my face.

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