Kicking Breast Cancer's Butt

Today, as you know, was a two scan kind of day. We did a CT scan, and later a bone scan.

Checked in at 12 noon for the IV contrast to do that bone scan at 3pm.  No surprises there.  Shortly after the nurse put in my IV, the guy from nuclear medicine was there to give me the injection of radioactive isotopes.  Again, no surprises there.

As I was leaving the injection/observation room, my nurse gave me the CT contrast, a suspension in about one liter of sterile water.  I was to start drinking it at 12:45, and complete it by 1:45, about 15 minutes or so before my CT scan began.

Now, I’ve had my concerns about the effects of the CT contrast.  I’ve read online that this particular contrast makes you feel flush, makes you feel like you are having a hot flash, and you feel as if you have peed your pants.

So I get my contrast down in the hour allotted to me.  No hot flash, no sense of peeing on myself.  I just feel cold.  I mention it to Ken, he says maybe I’ll be lucky, and it won’t affect me.

They come to fetch me for the CT scan, and get me settled on the scanning table.  I’ve had a Xanax, so I’m feeling pretty cool about the whole thing.  THEN the tech tells me, “Okay, I’m going to go get your contrast, and then we can begin.”  Wha??? Wait a minute, I’m having another contrast here?  Yes, he says, and once I push the contrast, you might feel a little warm.  Oooo, is this the one that makes you feel like you’ve peed your pants?  I’m just a little obsessed with this, as you can see.

He confirms my fears.  Damn.  I thought I had dodged that bullet.

WTF, bring it on.

So he comes back with the injection, says again how once he pushes the contrast I will feel suddenly flush.  He pushes the contrast, and it was all too true.  I flushed warm all over, in fact I was too damn hot, like uncomfortably so.  The “peeing my pants” feeling was hardly worth my notice, I felt so uncomfortably hot.

The scan was over rather quickly, and the hot feeling went away very soon.

Next stop, back to the observation room.  Especially as I mentioned to the tech that my tongue felt itchy.  He said I was the fourth person this week to make a comment about my tongue.

The observation room is the BEST.  There was an armada of wonderful nurses, checking our vitals, giving us warm blankets, offering us juice, cookies, crackers, anything we wanted!  I had a wonderful time.

I paid for it, though, when the bone scan began.  It is hard enough to just stay completely still, and you pray the images are good, so you won’t have to do it again.  We did the standard bone scan, 17 minutes, then another five taking images of each side of my head.  I’m almost free, when we get a call from the radiologist.  The CT scan picked up something that doesn’t show up on the preliminary bone scan.  She wants something called torso spec imaging.  This will take 27 minutes.  No!!!

So after another rest room break, we try to reposition me to best advantage for the camera.  The problem is, I just had a mastectomy and lymph node dissection three weeks ago.  I cannot raise my right arm over my head, no matter what I do.  I start thinking, maybe I should have started my physical therapy before I started this whole show.  Too late now.

So I interlace my fingers, as high on my chest as I can.  I have no idea how long I’m in there before my feet start twitching, and my arm muscles started shaking.  I ask “Are we close?”  My tech says 3 minutes 20 seconds to go.  Argh!  But I have to push through, or I will be repeating this whole mess.

I make it through, and my tech helps me sit up.  I am a little woozy and dizzy, so I take my time.  Once I’ve recovered, my tech asks “ wanna go again?”  SO funny.  I start laughing, and try to take a swipe at him.  I miss.  Grr.

He helps me up and I put on my shoes.  He gives me a paper, with the details of the radioactive materials I’ve had injected into me all afternoon.  I’m to carry it with me if I board a plane or ferry.  I am not a threat to people, but I may set off radioactivity detecting equipment.  Oh, joy.

And we get to do this all again tomorrow.

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