I was admitted to Bad Berka on June 30, 2010. Patients are always admitted on Sunday so that they are ready early Monday for treatment. My husband accompanied me up to the ward only to discover that he could not come into the ward. I reluctantly left him at the door and proceeded to a single room at the end of a deserted hallway. As I shut the door on my room I was scared and lonely and had no way of communicating with my husband who would be staying at the beautiful room over the kindergarten 300 meters down the road. We both had computers but found that the kindergarten had no internet service. I must admit that this was one very lonely moment.

Within an hour a nurse knocked on my door and indicated that she wanted me to accompany her to have blood taken. Her English was very bad and my German was non-existent. What I didn't know then was that the nurses with the poorest English are often assigned Sunday and evenings when there is a minimum of interaction with the patients.. While out in the lab area having my blood drawn I heard English drifting out of a nearby room. Once I was done, I followed the voices and introduced myself to two English-speakers; one from Singapore and another from the US. They both had prior experience at Bad Berka and they filled me in on what to expect. I felt much lighter as I left their room and headed back to mine. About 8:30 PM another nurse, this one with much better English, gave me my agenda for the next day and told me to have 2 half liter bottles of mineral water swallowed by 7:30 the next day. I set my alarm and slept restlessly all night.

Monday brought much more clarity for me as the nurse who entered my room spoke good English and could answer my questions. She also told me to eat nothing until my Gallium 68 scan was completed that afternoon. Since chemotherapy had left me with insulin dependent diabetes, not eating all day was very worrisome to me. The day was full of tests... an ultrasound of my liver and a separate one of my heart, a renal scan to determine my kidney function and, after a long wait, a Gallium 68 scan. What I discovered about my diabetes was that if I ate nothing I had no low blood sugar. As soon as I was done with the last scan, however, I quickly went to the cafeteria to eat something.

The rest of the day was very long. I was allowed to join my husband for an early dinner at the delightful restaurant "Station 33" next to the hospital but I was told to be back at the ward by 6PM as Dr. Baum would want to meet with me that evening. My husband stayed down at the cafeteria until 8:45 when I quickly rode the elevator down to tell him that I couldn't imagine Dr. Baum seeing me that night as I had seen him at work at 7AM that morning and a 13 hour day didn't seem reasonable. Having no phone and no way to contact my husband, I was very sad when told to be at Dr. Baum's at 9:30PM. I had to attend the appointment alone. This is when we resolved to buy German phones before our next trip. The meeting with Dr. Baum was wonderful. He did reveal that I had over 40 more tumors that my US doctor had seen and that many were bone metastases. At first this shocked me, but then I realized I had had them for five years but just was not aware of them. Dr. Baum outlined a treatment plan that would include 3 to 4 treatments with the first one starting the next day and the next three occurring about every 4 to 6 months over the next year.

After all that lead up to my Yttrium-90 treatment, it was much less complicated than I could have guessed. I began drinking mineral water early Wednesday morning then was given an IV with amino acids to protect my kidneys. After two hours of the IV a doctor and nurse entered my room with a large square lead box on wheels. They hooked me to a blood pressure cuff and began the treatment, asking every few minutes how I felt. I felt nothing unusual at all, rather than a bit sleepy from the anti-nausea medicine they had administered through the IV. The treatment took about 20 minutes and amino acids continued for another two hours. I experienced no nausea and felt very normal once the nausea medicine had worn off. Since it was my first visit, they kept me in the hospital until Saturday. I felt very well as I made my way home on Sunday and no serious side effects from that treatment or the next two Lutetium-177 treatments administered since then.