Regardless of the situation, no matter how hopeless the outcome may be, I will never quit, and I will never back down. I have become the wolf.

Posts tagged ‘PET Scan’

I feel like I’ve just awoken from a deep Cryogenic sleep deprivation chamber

In other words, I’m back from the Hospital again. Last Sunday my face and neck started going numb on the left side. Don’t know what caused the numbness, but it’s here and not going anywhere.  In the emergency room last night another doctor was asking the patient next to me to describe her dizziness without using the word dizzy.  So I started to apply it to my own feelings.  I’m not really numb.  I can feel touch.  What is feels like is that my skin is getting thicker.  Like the nerve endings are receding into my skin.  Anyway, two chest x-rays, two CT scans one MRI later and they still don’t know.  So I go for a Lumbar Puncture on Monday morning. Just to make sure those sneaky CA cells havent moved into the lining of my brain.  Can’t wait for this result.   What fun we are having this week. Off to more interesting subjects.

Have you ever spent any time at all in a hospital?  Time means nothing.  It’s like they run on their own time schedule.  All the clocks could be running backwards and the patients wouldn’t notice a thing.  They keep you sleep deprived by waking you up all night to ask you questions.  Every hour on the hour.  Windows are tinted so you really have no concept of outside time.  In those few glimpses of windows you get heading to your tests you get a distorted view of the outside world.  You can order whatever you want from the menu whenever you want it.  TV stations are confusing and their schedule is not any that I’ve seen before.  Got home at 4:00 pm and could have sworn it was 11.

Had to go straight from the hospital to radiology for my treatment today.  The good news is that my treatments are down from 45 minutes to 20 +/- minutes.  Apparently I’m shrinking at an acceptable rate for them to be comfortable with the reduction in treatment time.  Did have the girls take a picture of me locked into the beast. 

Me and the Beast

C called tonite and gave me a really good pep talk.  I needed to be reminded that I was stronger than I think and tougher than I know and that I have a lot to fight for.  I need to remember that when  sometimes things get down for me.  I just signed you up for my pep squad C.  I plan to be around for quite awhile and need your talks.  Don’t let me slide.
Anyway, I’m tired, finally.  Think I’ll go finish watching Blue Bloods and maybe sleep.  Felt so good to take a shower.  Hospitals have funk that clings to you.  Oh and for those that caught the cryogenic in my title.  It’s freezing in that place, and no blankets.  You have to fight to keep the ones you have.

First of three done for today.

Did have to chuckle. I warned Joe that this was a long test to have to wait for, cause we can’t wait together. What they tell you is an hour and a half is in reality two to three hours depending on the persons ahead of you. We walked out and he was like “damn, that took forever.” I so tried to warn him.

Here’s the rundown on a PET Scan.  You check in with this lady that talks more than any woman on the View ever could.  Every thing under the sun she talks about.  You finally get checked in and you get sent to the “benches” to wait your turn.  These benches are as hard as rocks and just about as comfortable.  So you wait, and you wait, and you squirrel magazines cause you’ve been here before and you know what’s in store.  Joe looks at me funny every time I score a “car guy” magazine.  He has no idea how rare those are in waiting rooms, or how long the wait. 

The tech come out and welcomes me into the trailer hereby called the “Freezer”.  First I get to sit in a leather chair in a 60 degree room.  And the ride is just beginning.  Knowing in advance about the freezer I was prepared.  Leggings, sweats, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, sweat shirt, heavy socks and warm slippers.  So what if people look at me funny.  I’m warm dammit.  The lovely tech takes my hand and gently shoves a pick into my finger to draw blood, she then squeezes it and takes a sample.  Good news,  I’m a 72, but then anything under 200 is good for them.  We then proceed to the fun part of the ride, the IV insertion.  Keep in mind that I just had chemo a week ago and my veins still haven’t recovered.  So after three tries and an arm change, we finally get it in.  For all of two minutes.  She flushes the IV with saline (or whatever they use) then injects the radioactive sugar into the IV.  Two minutes and she’s done.  Zip, the IV is out and I’m on my way….. to the next quiet room.

I’m now required to relax in a hospital room with the lights out and the curtains drawn for an hour.  Door closed, no visitors.  I’m now considered “hot” and would set off counters in three states. 

After a long and chilly nap, it’s time for the actual test.  Back up the lift to the Freezer.  This time I go into the scanner room.  A long ugly tube, makes a claustrophobic person kinda twitch, ya know?  Then they make it worse.  They strap my feet together and my legs down so I can’t move.  They start to draw the strap crossed my chest and I stopped her cold.  “It’s in case you move”, she says.  “I won’t”, I reply.  “You can’t know that,” she states.  “I’ve had eighteen of these,” I explain gently.  “I don’t move, and I don’t get strapped down.  You can leave the band on the feet but release the legs.”  I think she could tell I was serious cause the straps went away.  I requested a towel for my eyes and told her to begin.

The test takes a half an hour.  You can’t move or they start over.  I worked as a mannequin for 2 years.  I can stand still for hours.  When it was over, she told me that no-one had ever done it unstrapped for her where she didn’t have to do it over.  I think I impressed her.

Now I get to wait till Thurs. for my next two tests.  I hope I can convince them to use the same IV for both tests.  Doesn’t make sense to do one then insert a second..

Oh, the good news is that Joe was able to move my oncology appointment from the 25th to the 17th.  So I get my results one week sooner. 

Don’t know if I’m sad or glad about that.  Been waking up and wanting to make plans and being unable to even decide to plant a flower.  What if I’m not here to see it bloom.  I’m having a tough time holding it together right now. Perhaps I can get the doc’s to up my meds somewhere. Frick it, might as well be stoned and scared rather than just scared. 

Seems like only four months ago I felt robust and healthy.  I could wrestle with H and swing I around.  Now I can barely make it up the stairs.  I can feel the meat melting off my bones.  I don’t like this “survivor” feeling.  My bones poke into my butt when I sit for too long, so Joe took me out and bought me a new recliner.  It’s my perfect chair.  I took my Gramma’s advice and circled the chairs three times.  I sat in all of them and I kept coming back to this one chair.  The price was reasonable, It fits me like a glove and it’s so soft and wonderful.  Not to mention the knitting and crochet storage in the arms and the drink holders and the heat and the massage.  I can’t wait to get my new chair.  Tomorrow.

Off to bed.  I think I figured out a way to torch tomorrow without having Mom worry.  I’ll move the video camera down stairs and she can watch what I’m doing.  It’s a baby video monitor, but if it saves her from worrying about me…  It might work.

Night all.  And remember:

As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Third dose done. I’m already not happy.

Once again we got there early (1:15 for a 1:45 apt), in our excitement to get it over with.  Got in, had blood work, had our usual 20 second chat with the oncologist.  You know the one that goes “Well, the glands seem to be shrinking (*from whose end buddy?)  I think we’ll schedule you for another CT, MRI, PET and a series of blood work and see where we go from there.   Oh, and BTW our machine has your bilirubin count at over 4 again, so I’m gonna put you on an IV and send your blood up to the main hospital and we should get the results back soon.”

It’s 2:15.

I get put back in the freezing cold chemo room and cuddle under a couple of blankets and pillows, take out a book and prepare to be punctured again.  They get my IV started and I get as comfortable as I can in these chairs they have and I proceed to fall asleep.  I’ve been so out of it for days dreading being here, that once I’m here, I sleep.  I woke up at about 4:30 and looked over at Joe, he told me that they had started my chemo and to just relax, so I went right back to sleep.  By 6:00 we were done.  I get my IV taken out and get taped up.  I help fold up my blankets and put them away, and I head for the bathroom.  As I finish I feel something cold and wet on the inside of my sweatshirt arm.  I look down and there is blood running off my hand and onto the floor.  I think the nurses were a little freaked when I walked out looking like I’d slashed myself.  And BTW, kinda a bad time to ask if I’m on blood thinners, dont’cha think?

I go to the front desk to schedule my next tests and my next appointment and the girl behind the desk hands me a card with an appointment for three weeks away.  “But what about my tests?” I asked.  “He didn’t order any.” she replied and walks away.  Another worker must have sensed my confusion and asked what was wrong.  I explained about the tests and she said the doctor was in a conference and couldn’t be disturbed, but she would check in the morning and call me back.  It’s 10 of 7 the next evening and still haven’t heard back.  I”ll have to call tomorrow.

Been so tired and chilly since yesterday.  I think I’ve slept most of the day away today.  I did spend some time downstairs with mom this morning.  Spent a couple of hours making lanyard for cell phones or key rings.  They are quick and easy.  I’m so grateful to my friend Catie for agreeing to come over to play, she really lit a fire under my ass to get things moved downstairs and organized.  It’s so much easier to get things done when everything is in the same place.

I’m off to haul this bag of rocks off to bed.  contact points are painful right now so sitting isn’t much of an option.  Have a great night all.

And so it begins….again

Soo sick this morning.  Just the thought of eating makes me want to yak.  Peppermint tea and cream of wheat for me today.

And now to dish on the chemo from yesterday.  Got there early cause you always have a book worth of paperwork to fill out.  Then sit and wait, and wait.  Go back for blood work and surprise.  Cant hit the vein.  Three pokes later in the crook of my arm and I’m about ready to leave.  Glad I wasn’t wearing good pants, cause blood spatter doesn’t come out.  She got it worse than I so that was a bonus!  Then we get taken to an exam room?  OK the treatment room is in the back, why am I in an exam room?  Dr. Jeff comes in, being his usual annoyingly chipper self, and goes over the fact that we are going to wait till after the third round of chemo before seeing if we still need to radiate.  

Off we go to the treatment room where I pick a comfortable seat and get ready to party.  The nurses take my order and we are ready to begin.  First nurse comes up to start my IV.  No port this time, Chemo is only every three weeks, so they don’t think a port is a necessary surgery at this point. 

Please keep in mind that in the past two weeks I’ve had a CT, a PET, a MRI, a Biopsy, and had blood drawn every time.  My little veins are tired.  Two tries into the crook of the elbow and she’s frustrated cause I keep jerking.  OK, it hurts.  Those veins have been skewered so many times in the past few weeks.  So she tries in the back of the arm. 

Now is when it gets fun.  The skin on the back of my arms is so thick both from working outside all my life and from scar tissue that entering a vein is a painful process of just popping the needle through the skin.  It usually ends up with me drawing in a quick, painful breath and the nurse giving a shout of triumph.  Only two tries for this one.

First bag, saline.  Second bag, Benadryl (nice, I don’t get to sleep for three nights, that shit is like speed). Third bag is the Alitma, which is supposed to be the new wonder drug, won’t make me sick or make my hair fall out (bonus).  It’s now time for the largest bag, the Carboplatin.  Que the danger music here.  This one will make me sick, will probably make my hair fall out (if it does, I’m getting a tat on the back of my head of something rude.  Like eyes staring back.). 

Got home by 6:30 which is much earlier than I had expected.  I immediately went up to bed with a plate of fruit and yoghurt.  Didn’t even want to think about eating anything else.  Just stretched out in bed and watched old movies (ever hear of Ed and his Dead Mother, check it out)  and chillaxed.

Today, the tin taste is already back.  Coffee tasted like burnt tuna can this morning.  This is gonna be painful.  All my joints ache, like someone poured abrasive in them.  Attitude is not that sunny and bright.  I’m off to edit some photo’s and to post some things on e-bay.  Wish me luck, the PP acct. is getting low and momma needs some new glass.

Huggs to you all.

So, cancer thinks it can come back does it?

What am I, cancer’s little party girl?  In 2006 he picked me up, took me for a ride, and dumped me on the side of the road.  During the course of that ride, I was poked, prodded, poisoned, radiated, cut open, gutted, cut open and gutted again, more radiation and poison and finally proclaimed “remissioned”.  I prefer the term NERD myself.  Almost as a fallout of that wonderful ride, I’ve lost most of my friends, family and casual acquaintances.  It’s not like I had a boatload of friends, but I had a few I thought were close.  I was really surprised to lose my sister and brother.  While we were never raised close, I’ve always been there for them.  Neither one of them even bothered to call or visit till my husband went off on my mom and she MADE them visit me.

Anyway, since I’m starting the party again, I thought I’d try to document as much as possible. 

So, I went to my Oncologyst last week and he looked at my glands in my neck and throat, listened to my chest, looked at my bloodwork and immediately scheduled me for a CT scan, a PET scan and a Biopsy of a gland in my neck. I looked around and thought “fuck, I’m back on the ride”. 

My CT scan was scheduled for 2:00 in the afternoon on a Wednesday.  Anyone who has ever had one knows that the earlier is better.  You are not allowed anything to eat from 11:00 the night before. You can have water.  1.5 hours prior to your test, you are required to drink this thick, chalky substance mixed with 32 oz of water.  I can’t suck down that much water in an afternoon and they want you do do it in 30 minutes.  For the next two hours you sit and listen to the symphony created by your empty intestines slowly accepting the thick glop you are trying to force into it.  I pity the fool who sits next to me on the bus, I may not be making “those” noises, but he don’t know that.  Anyway, Get to the hospital and they ask when you last ate, what you had, did you drink your goop?  She smiles oh so sweetly and reaches outside the door for another styrofoam cup, a big 28oz’r full of the wonderful thick chalk.  “Here”, she smiles, handing me the glass, “Drink it all down now”.  And she stands there watching you drink and periodically checking her watch to see how far you are putting her behind.

Next we go into the freezing CT scanner room.  Why don’t they just hand everyone robes or tell patients to bring them from home.  Luckily for me, this wasn’t my first turn at the prom so I came prepared.  Flannel shirt and sweats with a heavy pair of socks on.  Tech makes you as comfortable as he can and he installs an IV into your arm.  Now keep in mind that I was in the Oncologyst office on Mon. and they drew vials and vials of blood.  My regular doctor was Tues. and more vials and vials of blood.  Now this poor guy thinks he’s gonna start a simple drip in my elbow.  I know my veins, I’ve been with them through alot in the past many years.  And I do know what veins are viable.  I suggest to the CT guy, hey, can you use the back of my hand, the elbow is sore.  No, no, no, he replied.  I’ve been doing this for years and I know what I’m doing.  Ok, I thought to my self, you got one shot, cause no-one get’s two anymore.  So, the first stab into the inside elbow, he lines the needle up, I suggest supporting the back of the vein with his thumb to steady it.  He snorts, plunges the needle in and I watch it roll off the side of the vein and slide into my arm.  After asking him to swiftly remove the spear from my arm before I rip his tongue out, he runs from the room, presumably for help.  Next nursie comes in.  I quickly explain again, sore veins, etc…  She just smiles and put’s the blue band of death around my upper arm.  Into the vein her needle slips, it looks good, and the vein blows.  Guess what, they end up using the back of the hand.

Other than the IV drama, it’s a pretty simple test, you ride in and out of a tube while a little voice tells you to “hold your breath” and to “breath”.   Getting the IV out is the next worst part, just cause it hurts.

More on the PET scan later.

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