Wednesday, April 22, 2015

September 25, 2013: Story of a PET Scan

I shared the PET scan adventure with friends and family:

Sent:         Thursday, September 26, 2013 1:31 PM
Subject:     Story of a PET scan. And more.

Yesterday's PET scan was a study in stillness.  I was led to a recliner, injected (via I.V.) with radioactive glucose, and told, "No texting, no talking, no moving.  Napping would be best.  But stay still."  So there I was.  Still.  Very, very still.  I prayed a mindful, deliberate rosary in my head--Glorious Mysteries since it was a Wednesday (it's a Catholic thing).  Fifty minutes flew.

Next, into the machine for 21 minutes, with both arms stretched over my head.  Again they instructed me:  be still.

I was trying to imagine just HOW still something could be.  Nothing alive was as still as I tried to be.

But then, suddenly everything I imagined started flopping around!  I asked my Guardian Angel to make me still.  That worked great until I felt a sneeze.  It was not a good time to sneeze.  Never mind the close quarters--my abdomen had just endured major surgery and was still healing.  A sneeze would've been unspeakably painful.

So then (I don't know where this idea came from) I prayed rather frantically to your Guardian Angels to please help me to keep from sneezing.  I don't even know if that is a thing.  But!  I was as still as a statue after that desperate plea, except for breathing (which was allowed).  I thanked all the angels! and God. and Mary. and all the saints for keeping me still.

When the scan was over, I requested a copy of the CD.  It held 1,216 scanned images.  Amazing.  I don't know how to read it of course, but software is included that lets you zoom right through the body to examine the marvels of God's creation.

Next, I was off to surgery for the port placement.  This was an lesson in patience.  Surgery was scheduled for 12:15 PM.  I got to pre-op at 10:00 AM since I was already in the hospital, but surgery was delayed until 2:00 PM.  Our friend-doctor, who works at that hospital, surprised us with a visit (so.very.appreciated!), and then Patrick and I watched stand-up comedy on YouTube to pass the time.  

Dr. Anesthesiologist came in and asked his questions and then ended with these marvelous words in all sincerity: "I think you should find this procedure to be not unpleasant."

I don't want to give the impression that the doc had no beside manner, because he did.  He was great.  But after he said what he did, it caused waves and waves of unstoppable laughter in me.  "Really?  That's the best you've got?" I sputtered, "'not unpleasant?!'"  Thankfully, he laughed along with us.

Then, in strode the surgeon.

This surgeon has a reputation for whipping out a ball-point pen at a moment's notice, using it to illustrate his commentary.  If no paper is in the immediate vicinity, he will sometimes sketch directly on the bed sheets.  This day, in pre-op, he drew on his own scrubs, right across his substantial belly.  He drew diagrams of ports!  He explained the type that he would be placing, and his reasons for choosing it to Patrick and me, his captive audience.

Then!  Then!  The surgeon gave the OK for me to eat all of the stuff that he had banned three weeks prior. (Hello, almonds.  How I've missed you.)  BEST PART: He said, "I want you to eat more.  You should eat ALL of the food...milkshakes, cake.  Get some calories.  I want you to gain back the weight you lost (in the hospital)."  

Wow.  What?  He said it.  For real.

Surgery went well.  My shoulder hurts, but no big deal.  I am to avoid activities like "vacuuming and washing windows".  Check.  I was quite wobbly when I got home.  You'd think that with all the lying in bed all day that I would've been ready to, you know, stand up and remain that way for...seconds, but no.  

More sitting; less walking.

The surgical sites from three weeks ago still hurt, but the doc says all is well on that front.  Three new scars from that.  One more from today.

You guys are excellent Prayer Warriors!  Truly excellent.  Thank you!


Critical steps were now accomplished, paving the way for chemotherapy to start.  One more hurdle remained, however.  It would be revealed at the next day's visit to the oncology clinic, leading to another test; another "adventure".

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