Monday, June 26, 2017

A Day Of Scans

I had my CT scan and bone scan today. Days like this always wipe me out. I think it's because of the chemicals they fill me up with. But before we get to that pleasant topic, I want to say a word about my last post.

My last three posts have all had an amazing response, and I'm so grateful for all of your support. When I posted No Good Options, where I told about my oncologist's conclusions that hormone treatment has ceased to be effective for me, and how I wasn't crazy about the options I have left, I figured that post would get a lot of views. It's a "hard news" post.

I tend to categorize my posts into two groups; Hard News and Navel Gazing. The hard news posts always get a lot of traffic, and the navel gazing posts don't get as much, which tells me that more people are interested in what's happening with me than are interested in my thoughts on What It All Means. That's okay. I feel blessed that so many of you are interested in what I have to say about anything. And I feel doubly blessed that so many more are concerned about what happens to me.

Which made your response to The Storm all the more surprising. I almost didn't post it. I didn't think it was that good. But I didn't want to wait until now to post again. I had this emotional episode at the beach, and felt moved to write about it. But it seemed like a "filler" post to me. Definitely a navel gazer. Instead, it's now my all-time most viewed post, passing The Suggestion Box by more than 300 views. I honestly don't get it. But I'm extremely humbled and grateful for your response.

But back to our regularly scheduled program. I've had a CT and bone scan on the same day before, so I knew what to expect. I wasn't looking forward to it. The scans themselves are no big deal for me, it's what they make you drink and what they pump you full of that throw me for a loop. First, they put in an IV, which I wore until the CT scan was finished. The tech who attached the IV to my arm ended up being the one who did the bone scan. She injected me with radioactive iodine for it, which did not turn me into The Incredible Hulk. I felt more like Olive Oyl when she gets all rubbery and fainty.

That stuff takes hours to work its way through your system, so they got me in for my CT scan while I waited. They had told me I couldn't eat or drink anything for four hours prior to the CT scan, but once I was there, they were OK with the fact that I'd had breakfast just less than three hours earlier. If you think radioactive iodine is a treat, just wait till you try contrast for a CT scan. There are two kinds, the kind you have to drink, and the kind they use the IV for. The kind you drink is to add contrast to your gut and abdominal area, and the kind they pump into the IV is for your bloodstream. Both are horrible.

The contrast you drink tastes like Satan decided to make Kaopectate worse. If you thought you were hungry because they told you not to eat, after you drink that stuff, your appetite magically disappears. They gave me some time to let it seep into my gut, then a guy came for me. He was the tech who performed the scan.

I find it interesting that the techs for both scans leave the room while the scan is actually going on. It's much too dangerous and toxic for them to stay. Hey, wait a minute...

The purpose of the CT scan was to find out if my cancer had spread to any organs other than bone. The machine looked just like the one in the picture above. The tech had me lie down on my back with my feet facing the big donut, propping my knees up under a cushion. He wanted me to raise my arms over my head, but the pain in my left shoulder, which keeps getting worse, kept me from doing that. So he let me keep my left arm at my side. It can't be a good sign when you can't raise your arm for a CT scan because the bones in your shoulder hurt too much.

It's a good thing the IV was in my right arm. I had to raise that for extended periods while he pumped the intravenous contrast into my bloodstream. That stuff made me smell and taste weird things, and gave me hot flashes unlike any I've had from Lupron. The kind that make you feel like you might pass out. I never came close to passing out today, but I did have some hot flashes that left me light headed. Not just during the scan, but after.

Monday is a rehearsal day for the rock band school's summer show this time of year. I wanted to try to be there for at least part of it today, especially since the place where we rehearse isn't far from the hospital. Originally, I was supposed to have a longer break between getting the IV and the radioactive iodine and coming back for drinking contrast and getting both scans. But things got moved around, so I only ended up having a break of an hour and fifteen minutes. That still gave me time to get down there for about 45 minutes of rehearsal.

I showed up there, still wearing my hospital bracelet, shortly after noon. I had to leave at 1:00 PM. But at least I got to sing through some songs with one of the singers, a girl named Alessia. My friend Todd joked with her that if I should fall over she should try to catch me. She almost had to. At one point, one of those weird, overpowering hot flashes came over me. My forehead started to sweat, my T-shirt clung to my skinny frame, and I felt all woozy. I told her the chemicals for the scans were really doing a number on me. I don't think anyone else saw it, but Alessia can testify.

After too short a time, I left my friends and headed back to the hospital for my bone scan. If schlepping down there and back between cancer scans to only be with them for 45 minutes doesn't show my love for those kids, I'm not sure what does.

The bone scan tech was waiting for me when I returned. I liked this lady a lot. She reminded me of my nurse Melanie. She even offered me a warm blanket in case I got cold. The purpose of the bone scan was to show whether the cancer on my bones has progressed. I think I can answer that question without a scan, but we'll wait for the radiologist's report.

Bone scans can be difficult if you're claustrophobic, but thank goodness, I'm not. As she covered me with the heated blanket, at first, I was very comfortable. I felt like taking a nap. But guess what the warm blanket triggered? Another woozy hot flash, of course. But it passed, as did everything today.

I requested a copy of my bone scan image, as I did last time. In my next post, I'll include a side-by-side "before and after" of my previous bone scan with this one. I'll even put it on Instagram. But it will get zero likes. Nobody likes my bone scans.

Here's the good news that I know so far. I got a call from my oncologist's office on the way home, and was told the CT scan shows no metastasis in any organs other than bone. That's a very good thing. Now we wait for the results of the bone scan. Radiologists operate on a different schedule than the rest of us.

When I got home, my wife and dog greeted me at the door. It was a gorgeous day in Denver today, so we sat on our patio and I told her about my day. We ate a nice dinner out there, and embraced for a good long while. It's good to be home after a day like this.

I see my oncologist on Thursday afternoon, and I'll post about it Thursday night. I think the title will be The Decision. But before that, I have some life to live. Two more rehearsal days with Todd and the kids. A concert with my wife tomorrow night, and another reservoir day. Cancer can wait. I have stuff to do.

So I guess this was more of a hard news post than a navel gazing post. God didn't even make an appearance. But love did, and I think that makes him smile. #waroncancer #bearingwitness


  1. "Cancer can wait, i've got stuff to do!"
    Love it !:-)

  2. Thanks for sharing the updated information. Have a wonderful day with Sharon. Glad you all can do a some things you enjoy. Sandy

  3. The waiting continues...such a hard part of all of this. We are waiting and praying with you. Side note about The Storm post getting so much traffic. In my opinion, it is the truly raw and unfiltered emotions that you share that garner the most attention. You are describing things that some have been through, what some have yet to prepare for, and for us wives, it helps us to understand what our husbands are probably feeling. Transparency. It might be hard for some to read, but overall, it's what I think draws readers to your entries time and time again. Love you.

    1. Maybe you're right, Lori. It probably is the raw emotion in that post. Love you too!