Friday, May 14, 2010

live blog - getting a PET/CAT scan

Today, Blog Readers, I'm over at the cancer center getting another PET/CT scan to see how the ABVD is doing on killing all my little rascal cancer cells. The tumors in my neck have been really reducing in size so we're all hopeful that this scan will show very little metabolic activity. If things go well, it will probably mean I'll be done with treatment in about 14 weeks. If it still looks like there's some activity there may be some value in getting radiation after the chemo completes. So fingers and toes are all double and triple crossed that things have been going well inside of me!

The first step in the process is to fast for six hours. Normally I'm not all that hungry for lunch but today, because I knew I couldn't eat at lunch, I was just famished. The amazing monkey mind at work! I got out for a little walk at lunch but still was having trouble not thinking about not eating. Sigh..

Ok, next step. Get a shot of radioactive suger and drink some chalky flavored barium. Then, wait for 45 minutes to have the sugar flow around my system. It will end up in my kidneys and spleen but shouldn't be showing up in my lymph nodes. So we're looking for a scan that doesn't show a bunch of white spots in my chest or neck. So that's where we are now - waiting for the sugar to flow around my internals.

After that, we have a 28 minute session with the PET/CT scan. For my size body, it takes  7 different slices at 4 minutes/slice = 28 minutes to get a good picture of me and my insides from knees to shoulder.

The last time we did the scan they had me put my hands over my head to get a good look at the lymph nodes in my armpits. That was actually the most uncomfortable part of the process since the annular hole in the middle of the machine you lie in wasn't quite wide enough for me to comfortably put my hands over my head. So my left shoulder really started to hurt and it was quite a mental discipline to lie there for 28 minutes without moving while my shoulder just started hurting more and more. Since they didn't find anything in my armpits during the last scan, I may be able to do this one with my arms down by my sides which would definitely be more comfortable. I've been stretching my shoulders so that I should have an easier time of it today if I do need to have my arms up over my head.

Ok, I'll update after I've completed the scan. Wish me luck!

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