Posts Tagged: scans


17
Jan 11

Scan follow-up

Definitely sinusitis. I will follow up with an ENT. It is a relief, but it is also annoying because Holy Hell! Haven’t I had enough health issues already? When is enough enough?!?!?!

Just didn’t want to leave anyone hanging. Apparently I’m going to live. : )

I have no clue what to expect with the ENT doc. I think I’ve had symptoms for quite some time but was ignoring them because I just thought that suddenly my allergies were kicked into high gear. And that the Claritin wasn’t working anymore. Or the Flonase. In hindsight, I’m awfully unobservant. Oops.


13
Jan 11

Pre-scan jitters

Will I ever, ever again be able to have a simple medical procedure without feeling the need for a shot of alcohol ahead of time (NOT that I have EVER EVER done that….or that I would admit to doing that…)? Just this morning I was all, la di da! I have a CT scan today and it’s fine! I’m not worried at all! And now that it is 15 minutes before I have to be there I’m having a little mini-freak out. What if I have CANCER IN MY HEAD? How much would THAT suck?

It’s probably nothing. They’ll probably be all, hey! Wasn’t that fun? You just got a scan of your head and there is nothing wrong with you except maybe you should chillax a bit more because you seem a bit stressed out. They might be all, hey! You have a little sinus infection! Let’s just get you some antibiotics and clear that sucker right up, shall we?

But there is a tiny part of me that is hyperventilating at the thought of CANCER in my HEAD.

I’m totally going to be ok. I’m fine. Everything is fine.

Right?


10
Jan 11

Just like everyone else, except with yearly radioactive PET scans

Today I had an appointment with my oncologist which was notable in that I had a mini-physical with him (something that, to the best of my memory, has never happened). I mean, the first time I met the man I was laying in a hospital bed with several huge masses in my neck and chest (the big one on my neck was obvious from several feet away; the ones in my chest had been confirmed via CT scan). I was obviously sick. There wasn’t really a point in feeling that thing on my neck because it was JUST THAT HUGE. And then every time I came in, it was all to deal with that stuff. And then those masses went away and we talked about fatigue and nausea and hair loss and then other scans, talked about my pancreas, talked about my lack of cancer, about hope and getting stronger and mental health and parenting and life. But I didn’t have a physical until today. The physical was a prerequisite of my health insurance which suddenly went, Hey, wait. We’ve paid out for a hell of a lot of medication and yet the doctor hasn’t really touched you. Maybe that should happen first and then we’ll let you get another four rounds of Rituxan. Yippee!

So today the doctor felt all my various lymph nodes (normal) and felt for other lumps and bumps and out of place things on my body (none) and concluded that everything looks pretty darn good and that I would finish out the last of my every six months for two years Rituxan as planned and then…..get a PET scan once a year (for forever, I assume?). And be diligent, once it is time to be diligent about such things, about mammograms and colonoscopies and reporting anything unusual like enormously swollen lymph nodes. But I feel, once I’ve made it past these next four weeks, like I’ll be as close to a regular, normal, 34-almost-35-year-old life as I am capable of. Just like a normal person, except with yearly scans to check for cancer (what? You don’t do that?).

So. That’s pretty cool, right?


4
Jan 11

Scan update

So I appear to be lymphoma free at the moment. Whew.

I have to get a re-scan of my head because my sinuses looked weird. Best case scenario: Sinusitis! Wheeeee! Worst case scenario: Who the hell cares! I’m still in remission!!!!!


3
Jan 11

Scan Anxiety

You’d think that getting these PET/CT scans would be old hat by now and it is, for the most part, fairly uneventful. Flirt with Atkins for a day (I have to follow a no carb, no sugar diet for 24 hours prior to the scan, plus fasting 12 hours prior), go in to the Radiology Department at the Cancer Center and become radioactive (they inject a radioactive dye into the bloodstream), then get scanned, leave the center, consume as much sugar and carbs as my body will allow, carry on with my day.

Today they did the scan (scan of head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis). I thought I was done. The radiologist came in and said, “hold on, I need to look at something,” went back into the little windowed room, looked at the computer for a few minutes, made a phone call, then came back out and told me that my doctor wanted him to collect more images of my neck and head. Hmmm, what? So I had to lay back down and endure 15 minutes of complete and utter stress. Why more scans? WHY WHY WHY!?!??! I have had approximately eight of these and they have never, ever done THAT before.

I tried to talk myself out of it. I thought to myself, well, maybe I just wiggled a little bit, turned my head or something, and the image wasn’t clear enough. Maybe they want a really up close and perfect picture to put in my file to close up my case, just to show how perfectly normal my head and neck is. But there is that other part of me that thinks OHMYGOD and immediately jumps (wouldn’t you?!?!?!) to OHMYGOD IT HAS METASTASIZED TO MY BRAIN!!!!

So. Probably nothing. No reason in the world to suspect otherwise except WHY the extra scan??!!?!?

Hopefully will hear something in the next 24 hours. Just waiting and stressing out in the meantime.


15
Dec 10

Normal

Tonight I spent 4 and 1/2 hours in the E.R. assuming that I had relapsed.

I left feeling slightly (only slightly, given my symptoms and the severity with which my doctor urged me to go in to the ER) foolish for wasting everyone’s time and making such a huge fuss over….nothing. Over….maybe acid reflux? Or something else that causes one to think that one has many massive chest tumors pressing on one’s lungs and heart.

Normal EKG. Normal CT scan. Normal blood labs. Normal Normal Normal.

It’s good to be normal.

Sorry if you were one of the ones that I unnecessarily worried. I was worried. But, apparently, all is well. I was just having…something. Something that involved feeling like pain when I breathed and most closely resembled my symptoms at first diagnosis 2+ years ago. But it isn’t that.

Now I can breathe.

P.S. Kudos to MaryJoyce for stepping right in without a moment’s worry or hesitation and offering to take care of Anna for the night. What a load off my mind, to not have to worry for a second that Anna wasn’t well taken care of. Thank you, friend.


9
Jul 10

Farewell, this week. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Every single day of this week has felt like Friday. Not in a good, TGIF way, but more in a is-this-week-still-dragging-on?-kind of way. Like, every single day I’ve thought, “it can’t possibly still be NOT-Friday!”. This week has kicked me in the ass. Repeatedly. And it sucks.

I know, I know. I received good news–great news!–today. News that my scan was “normal.” Oh, good. Yes. I am relieved. Another reprieve, it seems. Another 6 months before I worry myself sick again. But it still doesn’t erase it all.

It doesn’t erase the deaths. This week, already mindful of Kenny’s death in such an immediate way, especially as I wrote a memorial piece about him, I was completely devastated by the news about Anna’s dearly beloved teacher, whose baby–not even 6 months old–died. This beautiful, charming, totally healthy and perfect baby, whose dimpled smile shone from her elfish face, whose body I held many times upon picking up or dropping off Anna (because I just cannot stand to NOT hold a baby, goodness knows). Gone. Just gone. SIDS. I cannot see a single shred of good in this death. Not even a “oh, she touched so many lives” or “her spirit will shine forth” and definitely not a “well, we will see her in heaven some day.” This was a life too brief and though it was not my child, I found myself waking countless times these past couple of nights, waking with a silent scream in my throat, racing to look at my breathing child. It’s the most horrendous nightmare for any parent and, for a woman that I know and love, her nightmare happened. I just can’t fathom it.

Saturday we will attend a memorial for this sweet baby girl.

Sunday we will celebrate my sister’s birthday (sorry, dear sister, that the celebration of YOU is sandwiched between such sadness).

Monday I have chemo in the morning, followed by funeral and memorial for Kenny.

It all feels like so much, the emotional burden too great to bear. I find myself grown quiet and thoughtful these days.

Adam has been swamped with work this week and, though I understand and appreciate that that is what he has had to do, I’ve missed him. I don’t feel like I have had adequate time to process everything that is going on.

I find myself hoping that Anna will not see only death around her, but the beauty also. Beauty, where are you? Oh, life, please linger near us for a bit. We need you here.


9
Jul 10

Waiting Update

I’ve been walking on pins and needles all day. Just got a call from Dr. Mimi’s office saying that the full report has yet to be released but that the preliminary report indicates a conclusion of “normal exam.”

Ok, now I can exhale.

Monday we’ll get the full report. I guess the details don’t matter if the bottom line is good, right?


7
Jul 10

Today I have a case of the crazies

Ever have one of those days where it drags on so long and so painfully that you think that something has happened in the space/time continuum? Like, maybe somehow TWO bad days have been compressed into one day?

It might have something to do with the lack of sleep last night. No matter how sternly I scold myself for doing this, no matter how absolutely dreadfully not calming and not sleep-inducing this is, I still persist in googling cancer related facts and articles and all manner of frightening things late at night sometimes when I cannot sleep. Usually just prior to a scan. Because I am crazy, that is why.

I think that something deep inside of me is thinking that maybe if I keep searching I will come across that elusive website out there, the one devoted to explaining and predicting my entire life, including cancer status, disease progression, lifetimes of loved ones, etc. You know, the basics. For my edification. Wouldn’t that be nifty? I keep looking but I haven’t come across it yet.

I was trying to do a million things today: write, make phone calls, email, and all manner of assorted and sundry various things that kept me in my pajamas until (embarrassing!) 11 am. All the while, my tiny warlord conspired to keep my away from all my Very Important Activities by continually climbing on my lap, shouting during important phone calls and whining and requiring all manner of care. Yes, it’s my job to take care of her but I swear to you that Anna was being especially needy today. I felt….exasperated. Yes, that is exactly it. Exasperated in the way that you feel when there is the tiny bubble of laughter that forms in the back of your throat when you think about how ridiculous that it is that you are trying to call your doctor regarding your Very Important Scan while your daughter is screaming “MAMA COME WIPE ME NOW! RIGHT NOW!” and you realize that it is all faintly ridiculous, the idea that stay-at-home Moms have all this free time. Exasperated also in the sort of way that keeps your fondness for the irritating habits of your beloved child at the forefront: I could still think to myself, despite the inconvenience, that, GEEZ, is she ever cute! as she creates enormous messes requiring massive cleanup effort on my part. Really, I am not being sarcastic. I think that Anna is so adorable that I sometimes have to make myself get all stern because otherwise I melt at the perfection of her squeaky little voice.

Swimming lesson went well today. She is slowly getting used to the idea of being on her back in the water (previously a big fear for her). Despite the fact that she repeatedly told me, throughout the day, starting from breakfast time, that she did NOT want to go to swim lesson and she would NOT go, not EVER EVER EVER, she did just great when I handed her over to her teacher. Boy, was I ever glad that she did not make good on her threat to hit her teacher (no, seriously, she really told me that at lunch, that if I made her go to swim lesson she would hit Rachel. “I hope you won’t really do that,” I replied, looking her straight in the eye).

Everything feels so crazy right now. I kind of want to fastforward a little bit to the part where things are a bit more slowed down and mellow. Can I hope for that? I can also spin all sorts of fantastical maladventures regarding my in-the-air cancer status. I have refused to allow Adam to make plans regarding either (a) travel or (b) kitchen remodel, until after I get the results of these scans because I can’t go there until I get it in my head that we aren’t headed into another storm that we have to brace ourselves against.

Tomorrow: scan. Friday: blood draw and (hopefully) preliminary scan results. Then it is a whirlwind of family and activities because of Kenny’s upcoming memorial service and (gulp) oh, yeah, another few visits to the Cancer Center.


7
Jul 10

In Preparation

Starting this afternoon, because I have a scan tomorrow, I have to follow the PET scan preparation diet.

Foods to avoid: all sugar and carbohydrate-rich foods, including, but not limited to sodas, chocolate, candy, fruits, juices, breads, cereals, rice, pasta, carrots, potatoes, peas, milk.

For breakfast, naturally, I ate yogurt with blueberries, strawberries, banana slices, and jam, and a big, sugary cinnamon roll (none of which I will be able to eat starting at 1 pm today).