Thursday, March 11, 2010

PET scan results - hmm, I wish I were a radiologist/nuclear medicine guy..

Did my PET/CT scan today. As I said in a previous post I was pretty nervous about getting the results. The test itself is pretty boring. Get an injection of radioactive sugar (earlier today I was emitting positrons courtesy of some Fluorine 18 isotope, thank you very much!), hang around for 45 minutes, then lie on the CAT/PET scan table for about 25 minutes (7 slices for someone my height, 3 1/2 minutes/slice).

Then, the big news. Where do I have hot nodes that might indicate rapidly growing cancer cells? And, the answer is: the CT tech doesn't tell you, it has to go to radiology/nuclear medicine (48 hour turn around time), then to your doctor (my next appt is on Tuesday). Damn! However, I did get a CD with all my images on it with a neat little app that allows you to run animations that show the 2-300 hundred images in sequence.

So this of course is like giving a loaded gun to a little kid. I anxiously load the CD and spend 1/2 hr. being completely confused about what I'm seeing. I finally see a cross-section that I kind of think I understand. If I'm reading it right (and this a GIANT if), the results are about what we expected to see. I have malignant tumors on the left hand side of my neck and down the central part of my chest. Nothing that I can see in my armpits or my groin area. This would confirm the initial diagnosis of Stage 2A. But I'm trying not to think about it too much because I only have the slimmest idea of what these things should look like. But hopefully this is the story which would be pretty good news.

After about an hour of getting myself worked up I called the cancer center and asked for the uninterpreted report from the radiologist (i.e. not waiting for my oncologist to interpret it). It is, after all, my body and my insurance paying for the work. But they have a 48 hour SLA with the radiologists (meaning that they may have to wait 48 hours for the written report). So that means Monday at the earliest. So, a bit more wait and see....

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