Tuesday, April 17, 2012

SCANS: By The Numbers

Since May 25, 2010, I have had...

6: PET Scans
5: visits to the ER (I think)
4: CT Scans (only one with barium)
3: Chest x-rays (one very very abnormal, one lovely)
2: PET/CT combos
1: spinal MRI (with contrast, ew)
1: CT guided biopsy ("that's the money shot!" NOT)

I wish I could say it gets easier.  Nope.  If anything, it's harder now because I know too much.  I've come so far since that awful there's-a-mass-in-your-chest day and thus, I have more to lose.

My May scan has been moved up to this Thursday. Blech.  I've been having some swallowing issues that I had hoped was just another allergic reaction to an antibiotic.  But I finished taking those horsepills and the issue remains.  The good news is the scheduler called today (my good friend Dee - hey, I wonder if everyone who she calls on a regular basis thinks Dee is their good friend...) and signed me up for a first class ticket to this Thursday morning's PET/CT scan with barium - EEEEWWW!!
don't be jealous
I know you, you're thinking how is that good news?  Well the good part is that it's just 1 day away.  That's only a little bit of ativan I need to get through to Thursday.  Then another tiny bit to get me through until I get the results on Friday (after I stalk the nurse/my rad onc for some news).  So I don't have to waste very much of my precious stash...  The downside is of course that I have to drink that chalky nastiness.  I haven't had to drink it since the very first scan on May 27, 2010, so I am hoping that's not a bad omen.

Scanxiety breeds a very specific type of fear:  relentless, all-encompassing terror.  I never understood why people enjoy watching horror movies - I understand even less when I have a constant sense of dread coursing through my veins (blood cancer? no pun intended).

*Memory flashback***I remember watching JAWS as a teenager with my best friend, chanting, "oh sh*t, we're in for it, oh sh*t, we're in for it," every time the DUH-nuh, DUH-nuh music began to play***

Just like we all do, I will suck it up and get the job done on Thursday, wait in my quiet little room for the radioactive glucose to make it's poisonous way through my system, pee like a good girl, raise my arms above my head, hold my breath, zip zip back and forth a few dozen times, and then I will go out to celebrate (assuming the barium doesn't make me lose my appetite for Federal Donuts).

As Judah already knows, and Franklin the turtle finds out in Franklin Goes To The Hospital that true bravery is when you do what you have to do, no matter how afraid you are.  And, according to Franklin's doctor, Dr. Bear, you can even see bravery in his x-ray.  Hopefully the radiologists at Pennsylvania Hospital are looking really closely...

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