Wednesday, August 19, 2009

So now what?

First of all my PET/CT scan was clean. Which is good news. It means I have a degenerating disks in my back as well as other problems with it that will just continue to get worse. Yes, if I did have bone mets in my back, they could treat them (and they would probably eventually spread and kill me) but at least I would better be able to be treated. (Don't ask people who are in pain to be rational. I just want my back to stop hurting.)

So yesterday I went to have my PET/CT scan. I had to arrive at 845 for prep for a 10 am scan. They inject you with a radio-isotope which reacts to glucose which is a sign of fast growing cells - such as tumor growth (tumors are fast growing so they have lots of glucose activity). After the injection, I had to sit still for 1 hour without moving so the glucose goes evenly throughout your body. You can't bring a friend to talk to you because you are emitting radiation. You can't listen to music or read a book. I fell asleep and when the tech came back to get me, he knocked on the door, woke me up and scared the crap out of me - but I had a nice snooze.

Then I went for the scan. Its a big round donut machine and they slide you around on a table and scan you. You just get to lie there, not move and do nothing. Its boring. They have a nice back lit picture on the ceiling that you can only see when you are out of the machine - not very interesting for the duration of the scan. (I did have an overwhelming urge to sneak in a Sharpie and write 'Kilroy was here' or something on the inside of the machine but successfully over came that urge - for now. Next time? Maybe I'll bring my pink Sharpie.) I did as instructed and lay still for the duration. I was told I could have my eyes open or closed but then there is a little warning sign inside the machine: 'don't look into the laser' so I shut my eyes. Perhaps the tech needs to take a trip through the machine and see the little sign...

I had an 11 am apt with my radiation oncologist, who had ordered the test, to get the results. I asked when they scheduled it if that was enough time to get the results and was told yes. I asked when I arrived yesterday if that was enough time to get the results and was told yes. I asked when I left yesterday (perhaps I have issues here?) if that was enough time for to get the results and was told yes. I had a few minutes to kill and went to find if they had a lost and found to see if by any mere chance, my favorite water bottle, that I left behind a few weeks ago, had been turned in...

Then I went to my doctor appointment. She was running about 30 minutes late but that was okay. The nurse put me in the little room and I told her I was there for my scan results so she said she would find them and give them to the doctor. Then the doctor came in and was confused why I was there. I reminded her she had seen me last week and I was there for my PET/CT scan results. Obviously she hadn't seen the nurse before she came in. She said if I had my exam yesterday, the results wouldn't be ready. I said that was the whole point of the appointment and I was told they would be ready. She went and checked and came back and said it was clear.... BIG sigh of relief on my part. She left. I left. But now what?

I went to lunch with a friend who is Stage IV and has PET/CT scans regularly. She ws surprised I got the results so fast as hers are looked at by four specialists before getting results (a specialist each for each section - heart, liver, etc or something). Maybe that was just the preliminary read and I could have changes. This does happen with some things. For example, if you have surgery, they will often do a quick look to make sure something is benign but then do a real pathology report which takes a few days or longer to confirm this so you can get different results later on. Me? I'll just stick with clear results but I will call next week and ask them to send me a copy of the final report. Actually I am curious as to what it will say. I don't really know what is recorded in a PET/CT scan and wouldn't mind finding out. Also, 'they' (this is the mysterious, overseeing 'they) tell you to get copies of all your medical reports. I also forgot to ask the doctor what my next follow up plans are. I was seeing her every six months and am not sure if that will continue.

So now what? I have back pain that is being treated that hurts. My ankle still hurts (my husband says it is because I did too much yesterday - who me? - I walked around the damn hospital). My air cast helps my ankle but hurts my back because I walk and stand funny. I will take my pills and suffer in silence until I go back to the back doctor in November. I go see the ankle doctor next week. Perhaps I can get out of this rut of weekly doctor appointments. I still have to worry about cancer cooties, but less so now that I had a clean scan. But I would really like to be healthy again.


Debby said...

But did you find your water bottle at least?

Caroline said...

No! I didn't!