Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Nuclear Bone Scan / Social Hour

Today was a tough day- it was extremely busy, stressful and mentally/physically/emotionally exhausting. This probably won't be a humorous post.

My nuclear body bone scan was done today (to see if the cancer has spread to the bones). This is a fascinating test where you are first injected with a radioactive material and then scanned. (on a side note- I am NOT intensely researching this stuff online right now. I made that mistake twice and went to and these scary words started popping out at me, so now I can't sleep. Once I know exactly what I'm dealing with, I'll do my research and be more "scientific" with explanations.) Anyway, I was injected at 11am by nurse C. who was really nice and enjoyed Lilly hanging out with us in the IV room. Lilly was great for the quickie procedure- she ate cookies and read her Beach book, and then pointed out mommy's new "boo-boo". I get to leave and come back for the scan at 2pm.

From the hospital we drove over to grandmom's so Lilly could hang out there for the afternoon while I had the 2nd part of the test done. Lilly loves grandmom's because "silly Sammy" (her dog) plays catch and licks her (unlike our lazy fat pug who just harasses Lilly for cheerios). I leave to go back to the hospital for the scan.

First off- the bone scan is kind of like a CT, you lay on a table that can move back and forth , and there's a machine that moves across you, but can also rotate on the sides. You aren't hooked up to anything and don't have to wear a gown, so it's pretty simple. Once I was positioned on the table, they slipped my arms through a big strap and it went across my chest to hold me still. They also put a rubberband around my feet so they didn't move. The scanner comes really close, but doesn't touch you. First, my head was scanned and that took 6 minutes. During this time, you can't move, talk, cough, sneeze or scratch that itch on your eyelid. Right after that they set up the body scan which takes 20 minutes.

Now during this time, the procedure room turned into some sort of employee lounge. I couldn't see anything but at one point there were at least 4 people in the room, chatting about something or another, taking patient calls and typing on computers. It was entirely distracting and annoying...and I can't talk to say anything! Someone came in and sent one of the people home early and then some guy was getting all irate about something not being able to be deleted from his desktop computer??? I don't know- it was so inappropriate, and it was like I wasn't EVEN THERE! I have never had an experience like this...Dr. Bob is getting an earful about it on Monday.

This is the worst part. After the 20 minute body scan the technician (who - in her defense - was not involved with the disorderly conduct going on around me) calls someone over to look at the screens. Since they are literally 10 feet away from me, and there's no privacy divider I can hear their whispers, even though I can't see anything. They have to do more images of my chest? What? That's where the cancer is! Do they see something...BAD? I am FREAKING out... and already upset about the whole social hour going on, lack of privacy and overall disregard for me as a patient. So they do these really close up scans of my chest and I almost lose it on the table. One of the things that jumped out at me during my (limited) research was that IF the cancer gets to the bone it's typically not curable. Dealing with it being in my breast and lymph node is enough!

So on the way back to grandmom's from the hospital I'm really panicking. I'm definitely not sleeping tonight.... I'll be a mess until I get to the Oncologist tomorrow for the results. This is really scary stuff. Grandmom has a point about the additional scans...maybe they need them so it's isolated and they can get different angles, rule everything out...I don't know...too much bad news in one week for me. I'm thinking worst case scenario, especially because of how it all went down. I KNOW that the techs know what they are seeing. And they can't tell me, so they know, but I don't, and their attitude definitely changes once they see those images and there's something abnormal. It's psychologically terrorizing.

Driving home...the reality that there could be a whole lot more going on is sinking in. I walk in the front door and there's 5 messages on the machine...the last one is from Dr. Bob - the CT and bone scan both came back clear... things are looking good... I cried (I'm still crying).

The bottom line- the tech handled the need for extra scans poorly, the social hour in the procedure room was completely inexcusable and cancer is scary...but it's not in my bones or anywhere else. Yea!


Luana said...

Hey KC, I know the situation is bad but the news you have received today are great! Things will definitely be all right now. Don't be scared anymore... Things will go smooth from now. We are all here for you!


Luana and Andrew

Caitlin Domanico Photography said...

KC~ Oh jeez, I couldn't breathe during the whole post! Thank god it is not in your bones. I am very thankful and happy for you. I am also glad for the blog updates as I don't want to stalk you through email (you know I'm stellar at it!).