Have you had TACE or SirSpheres radiation treatment? Please share

Posted by Sue @sue_in_delaware, Oct 4, 2015

Does anyone have experience with receiving TACE or SirSpheres, which are 2 types of radiation to the cancer tumor. I have colon cancer with mets to the liver. I’ve had 8 chemo treatments since starting chemo on April 22, 2015 and the 7.2 tumor in my liver has only shrunk to 6.2. They want it smaller before trying resection surgery. I’m wondering about the side effects of the TACE or Sir Sphreres treatments, pros and cons, risks and benefits etc. Thanks!

I had the SIRT procedure on Tues. Nov 24th at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia (some call it Y-90 or SIR-Spheres but same thing.) I arrived at around 10am and they had me undress and put me in a gown. (No catheter, but in hindsight, it would have been a good idea, because when I came back to the recovery room I had to pee and ask for the bed pan 3 times. Each time it as a mess and they had to change my sheets and gown, sheesh! ) They accessed my chemo port catheter for the IV solutions. (This was the first time I ever let anyone other than the chemo nurses mess with my port, but this particular nurse had experience with them, she said.)

By 10:30 I was wheeled to the radiology room. They gave me sedation but it was just enough to stay awake yet not feel pain for the incision to my femoral artery. No antimicrobial shower like Laydeewinx had, just a quick shave and a scrub down in the groin area. The “awake sedation” must be a tricky business. I suppose as they watch you start to nod off, they know they can start the procedure. I could tell they had made the cut but it didn’t hurt. Then at one point they told me to “take a deep breath, exhale … STOP breathing, hold-it, hold-it, don’t breathe, don’t breathe…….OK breathe.” That happened about 3 times. There were several times when I felt a sort of jam or pushing sensation in my abdomen and I jumped but in a split second they pushed more sedative through the IV and I relaxed again.

It was done in about 60 minutes (or less) and I was sent back to the recovery room and told not to move my right leg and lay still for 4 hours. They disconnected the IV fluids bags. Within a few minutes I had to pee and they brought the bed pan, but as I said above, what a mess that was. Each time they go to take the bed pan away it sloshes all over the place. ugh.

They gave me water and crackers. I had a crushing headache and awful stomach pain so they put Dilaudid in my IV and gave me an Rx to get some at home. The Dilaudid did help my headache but made me very dizzy and did not much help the stomach pain. I felt as if I had been pummeled by a boxing champion and my insides were in excruciating pain. They gave me an Rx for Prilosec 20mg to help with heartburn and an Rx for a 6-day 21 pill-pack of steroids.

Once at home, I laid around a couple days and took a few steroids and a couple Dilaudid, however, I didn’t like being dizzy and not being able to walk around without falling over, so I stopped the Dilaudid and used Tylenol. I had nausea and didn’t feel like eating for a few days. I took my anti nausea meds from when I was having chemo. I was constipated for 5 days (even though taking stool softeners and Miralax, so ended up trying a Fleet Enema which gave some relief.)

It’s been a week now and I’m starting to feel normal again. I go back in a few months for scans to observe for shrinkage. They’ll do regular blood tests in the meantime to check liver function. Last night I resumed my Xeloda pills and have an appointment on Friday with my regular Oncologist at the chemo center here in Delaware. She’s the one prescribing the Xeloda and will help with dosage or adjustments if I have severe side effects etc.

So now we wait and see!

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Hi Sue! Thank you for coming back to share your experience. Your post along with @Laydeewinx‘s about TACE will surely help the next person who searches for information comparing these 2 treatments. It’s the specific things about what to wear, how to prepare, bed pans, catheters and pain that people can’t read in pamphlets. Thanks for both of you.

Sue glad to hear you’re starting to feel normal again. Do you tolerate Xeloda well?

@Laydeewinx how are you doing?

Liked by Sue

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I was on Xeloda (3000mg a day –1500 mg taken after morning meal and again after evening meal) for 2 weeks. By about the 10th day into it the only annoying side effect was itching, peeling skin with some blisters forming on my feet and toes. (They had turned a dark color, almost purple looking.) Then the 3rd week was my one week “off” and the toes and feet issues cleared up. It will be interesting to see if the foot syndrome is cumulative and gets worse, or, if it just starts to get bad by the 10th day and then clears up on the next week off. I have heard that some people had to reduce their dose to 2000mg a day (or less) for debilitating hand/foot syndrome, so we shall see!

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@sue_in_delaware It sounds like you might be experiencing hand-foot skin reaction which can be a side effect of some oral chemotherapy treatments like Xeloda. For more about this skin reaction, see this link:
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/expert-blog/oral-chemotherapy/bgp-20056402
and also this link: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/expert-blog/hand-foot-syndrome/bgp-20056309

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Thanks for those links smness. They give good suggestions on how to deal with side effects. I had a visit with my Oncology doc who is prescribing the Xeloda last Friday. She says to let her know if the symptoms become unbearable and she’ll switch me to one week on and one off. So far it’s not that bad though. Now if only the fatigue would stop, which is probably the hardest thing for me to deal with. I never used to have to take a nap in the middle of the day and the all-day long “sluggish” feeling, ugh. (I have read where the radiation procedure causes fatigue too, so maybe I got a double-whammy with these lol.)

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Hey @sue_in_delaware and @Laydeewinx, How are you doing? What will the holidays be like for you this year?

Liked by Sue

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Hi Colleen, doing ok, thanks for asking. We have a party every year where all the family gets together with food and drinks etc. It’s about 20 people. It starts around 5pm and lasts well past midnight usually. I’ve been going to bed around 9 or 10 pm these days, so the party will be my first big night out in a long time! I’m looking forward to it. It’ll probably take me a few days to recover lol.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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Hi everyone, Happy Holidays and trust in God, he will help us.

Liked by Sue

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@sue_in_delaware

Hi Colleen, doing ok, thanks for asking. We have a party every year where all the family gets together with food and drinks etc. It’s about 20 people. It starts around 5pm and lasts well past midnight usually. I’ve been going to bed around 9 or 10 pm these days, so the party will be my first big night out in a long time! I’m looking forward to it. It’ll probably take me a few days to recover lol.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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Sounds lovely @sue_in_delaware. I suppose you will learn the fine art of pacing yourself. I wish you all the best for both the festivities and the recovery 🙂

Happy holidays.

Liked by Sue

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This site confuses me a bit. Where do I ask a question so that any members who can relate, can respond?

I want to find people who are taking Xeloda (or generic Capecitabine) pills. I’d like to compare notes with anyone who’s been on it, for how long, does it really act as a long term treatment to keep shrinking existing tumors and prevent new tumors from forming? What side effects people have and how to deal with it, etc.

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Hi Sue,
You did the right thing by posting to the existing thread title Xeloda https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/xeloda/ Unfortunately it has not generated conversation. I was hoping @jseim106 would join in to share her experience with the drug.

Using the search functionality I found this older thread https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/colon-cancer/ where a few people were talking about Xeloda. If you post to it, they contributors will get an email notification and may return to the forum. I’ve had some success bringing people back to respond to new members this way.

I’ll keep searching. I’ll also private message you about the site usability. We’re making improvements to it and would like your feedback.

Liked by Sue

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Thanks for responding Colleen. I don’t have any private messages though. ?

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I got distracted and didn’t send it right away. Writing now…

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Hi ladies,

I apologize for the slow reply. I was not getting alerts to new messages on here, and then it was so close to my scan date that I figured I would update when I had the scan results.

It seems that the TACE did good things for me as many of the liver lesions are now stable and the most concerning one even shrunk a little – so pretty amazing news on that end. Unfortunately the lesions that are outside the liver continued to grow, except for the primary in my duodenum which also shrunk a little. This news was not completely unexpected but still a bummer, so I will be switching treatments from gleevec to stivarga in the next little while.

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@Colleen_Young @smness
Update on my SIRT (Y-90) Sir-Spheres microspheres radiation procedure that was done on Nov. 24, 2015. The report from yesterday’s MRI scan (Feb 24, 2016) was read to me over the phone this morning. The good news is that my original 7.7 cm tumor (which was diagnosed on Feb 6, 2015) in the right lobe of my liver which was treated with that radiation procedure, has shrunk down to 4.7 cm. However, the bad news is, there are NEW 1cm and some smaller tumors elsewhere in my liver, Additionally, a “suspicious lung nodule” is showing on the scan.

Now they’ll schedule a CT scan of my chest to figure out the lung nodule issue. And they’ll decide if there’s some additional chemo (besides the Capecitabine pills that I take now) which will help kill off these new tumors. Perhaps the Xeloda is not working the way it’s supposed to? Also, they do say shrinkage can continue (on that large tumor that was radiated) for an additional few months. Or I may need another SIRT procedure.

So now I’m in a holding/waiting pattern again until more tests and doctor consultations are scheduled. Please pray for me if you can. Thanks everyone.

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