Friday, December 22, 2006

The Staging Process

In order to figure out what stage I am in, the Doctor tells me I get to go through all these crazy tests. The first test is a full body PET/CT Scan.

I go to this fancy clinic, one of about only 600 in the world with a PET/CT machine, and sit back in this comfy recliner. A tech comes in with a big lead box and plops it down next to me.

She opens the lead box to reveal a tube made of lead about the size of a Pringles can.

She starts an IV in my arm and then pushes the radioactive contents of this lead Pringles can into my body. I then need to lay there for an hour to let it circulate through my body.

After I am pumped full of radiation, they take me into the room with the machine and tell me to lie down on this table. She tells me that the test will take about an hour. The table starts to slide into a big plastic donut making some crazy sounds. Lucky for me the tech decides it is a good idea to turn on Christmas music to drone out the whirring sound of the machine.

KEEP IN MIND I AM DRIFTING IN AND OUT OF A HUGE DONUT WHILE LISTENING TO X-MAS MUSIC AT AN UNCOMFORTABLE LEVEL OF VOLUME FOR AN HOUR. So far, this has been the worst part of having cancer.

On to test number 2 of the day.

The MUGA scan (Multiple Gated Acquisition scan) is a noninvasive test that produces a moving image of the heart. From this image, the health of the heart’s major pumping chamber (the left ventricle) can be assessed.

My Doc makes me get this test because one of the chemo drugs they are going to give me can give you heart failure if you have a shitty heart.

This test was no big deal, other than the "Nurse in training" trying to find a vein for the very large bore needle they had to shove into my hand. Every time I need blood work done, it is a huge pain. NOBODY has been able to find a vein in my arm and only one person has been able to find a vein in my hand on the first try. I would make a crappy junky. The up and coming Nurse sticks this huge needle in my hand 5 times before I ask her if it would be a good idea to find someone with a little more experience.

The "RN' or "Real Nurse" comes in and sticks me. She only needs to try 3 times! This was a better track record than the "LPN" or "Likes to play Nurse".

After they get the IV started they pump me full of more radiation and lay me on another table. I am getting used to this routine.

After the MUGA, I was off to the hospital to do some pre admissions testing for my port install the next day. No big deal, just more blood work. This nurse only had to stick me twice behind my thumb on my wrist.

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

Christmas music is awful! I had a CT Scan during Christmas time when I was 10 or so. They asked me if I wanted to hear Christmas music and I told them absolutely not! The other times I agreed to radio but they kept putting it on DJX! I'll just take the loud noises of the machine, kthanks!

Motivation said...

Love your story. My fiancé was just diagnosed with possible stage 4 liver cancer. Just got her treatment of local radiation. Pet scan was done yesterday believe it or not. Results stated it may have spread to her hip bone. I say possible because she had a second biopsy prior and that can cause or to assume more than confirm if it indeed spread. But my question to you is exactly what stage where you, and how did you manage to stay so strong in the beginning?