On Monday I flew to Auckland for various tests and scans to determine my suitability for a treatment trial for colorectal cancer patients who have metasteses in the liver.
It was fascinating. The whole procedure was conducted under a local anaesthetic and I was able to watch everything on the TV screen the radiologist was using. A catheter was inserted into the artery in my right groin and pushed through to the liver. A wire was then inserted through the catheter and I watched as the radiologist manoevered it down various channels of arteries within the liver. When he got into the one that leads to the bowel, he inserted little inverted tea strainers – at least that’s what they looked like. They measured about 6mm and just popped out to the end of the wire. About 8 or 10 of these were used to embolise the artery and prevent blood flowing to the bowel. He repeated the procedure in another adjacent artery that lead to the front of the stomach area. These were embolised (I like the sound of the word!) to prevent the radioactive spheres from escaping into those areas when they are eventually inserted. I was assured the bowel and stomach area are able to obtain their required blood supply from other arteries.
In the background I was able to watch my heart pumping away merrily and also my lungs expanding and contracting.
The only painful part was when they finished the procedure and stapled the artery in my groin, inserted a ‘plug’ then pressed on it for several minutes to prevent blood staining the ceiling!