So, now we are up to April 21st, 2023. Treatment day… finally. But wait! Around 9:30 that morning, I got a phone call from my treatment provider. I saw it come up on the Caller ID and braced myself. Are they calling to cancel me again? Thankfully, no. Or at least not on purpose.
By April 21st, the supply issues were beginning to improve, but Novartis’ production facility in New Jersey had still not been re-certified by the FDA. As such, Pluvicto treatments being administered in the U.S. were almost exclusively being produced at Novartis’ manufacturing facility in Italy and shipped to the U.S. on a “just in time” basis for the treatment.
Anyway, my treatment provider was calling to tell me that my treatment was likely off for the day as the raw materials for the treatment had arrived in New Jersey, but still had to clear U.S. Customs and the FDA. My treatment was scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and under a best-case scenario, it was at least 2 ½ hours away by plane, even *if* it was approved immediately thereafter. Knowing that it still had to get from the CVG airport to their office, I figured it was hopeless and started making other plans for the day. The caller pretty much confirmed that was going to be the case, but she was holding out hope.
At about 12:15 p.m., I received a call from the same person saying that the treatment was “back on” and asking if I could still make it. Given that I was a solid 30 minutes away by car, I said “is it still a 1 o’clock appointment?” She confirmed that it was, and just asked me to do my best to get there as close to the start time as possible.
I made it there by 1:15 p.m. and was quickly ushered into the treatment room, which bordered on surreal. Given the radioactive payload that was about to be injected into my body, I was asked if I needed to go to the bathroom (they don’t want you using the “facilities” following treatment). The bathroom was hilarious. Everything, and I mean everything, was wrapped in a thick layer of plastic. Handles, faucets, the toilet seat, the door handle, etc.
Now back in the room, I wondered aloud at how the treatment was in New Jersey as of 9:30 a.m. that day, and somehow cleared U.S. Customs and the FDA and still made it in time for a 1:00 p.m. treatment. Now, here comes the best part. As it turns out, it had been in their building all along – they just didn’t know it. What a “cluster,” as they say.
Once the treatment began, I was amazed at how quickly it went. It was over in less than 10 minutes. After it was over, they “wanded” me with some sort of device which confirmed that I was “hot.” I was told to go straight home and quarantine for several days.
Until next time,