Saturday, June 15, 2013

PET/CT Scan - what was my experience today?

My family doctor wants to be thorough about things so I was told to go to this place in Bangsar on Jalan Maarof - called Austral-Euro Diagnosis to get a PET/CT Scan to see if there is cancer. Even though cancer markers were taken, only 2 were obtained, not the usual 4. So this scan is supposed to see everything?  Really??

I get there 8am in the morning, I'm early. There's already 3 or 4 patients in front of me. They register me, get an IV catheter going and get a brief medical history while they are at it. I am then ushered into a tiny room with a comfortable chair and a place where I can put my clothes. I am given 1.5 litres of water to drink. In the meantime they push some clear radioactive dye I suppose in me through the IV. I'm to undress and just wear my underwear and a robe. All my accessories are off - earrings, rings, and phone!!  I'm left alone in that tiny closed room with a ventilator to contemplate what the scan's going to show and to drink my water. Not my idea of fun. And that took a long time. The mind wanders you know?

After that, I'm told to pee several times to get as much liquid out of me as possible so my bladder is not full of water and they have to scan me again. They shuffle the patients from comfy chair to comfy chair in a waiting area outside the scanner room to indicate your turn. The closest chair to the scanner room is up next. Musical chairs. Fun? No. A better way of doing things should happen here.

Everybody sitting out in the waiting area is really almost naked under the robes, and the robes are pretty short. I don't really fancy looking at these fellas who are out there with me. And thankfully everyone has the decency to just close their eyes and think about what's ahead.

I am quite claustrophobic so that was my biggest concern. Turns out the machine is not really that bad. It is open on both sides and they shuffle you back and forth so you are never quite covered all the way, nor do you feel like you're entering a closed tunnel. The attendant tried to strap me in and I told her, Look, I am claustrophobic so please don't do that! So she makes sure that I will hold myself  on that little tray they slide in and out of the covered area, and not fall off. Arms over my head and off I go. There's a little sticker that reads Laser Beam, do not look directly into it.  Or something to that effect. I just close my eyes and try not to fall off. The whole scan takes barely 15-20 mins. I almost fell asleep!

After I came out of the scanner room, I promptly got dressed and waited outside to hear my results. The procedure was as simple as that.

As to whether my results were good - No. I didn't hear what I wanted to hear - which is that everything was clear. I was told that I have something that looks like cancer in my pelvic area but that it was not clear - 50-50 chance, the doctor said. And that he was almost 100% sure I had nose cancer, and that it needed to be treated with radiotherapy and chemotherapy immediately. But it is very treatable, he added.


My brother was waiting outside. Prior to the scan, I'd told him - Don't freak out, no matter what the results are. Or I will as well. He did well composing himself. He didn't freak out. I didn't freak out. I was stunned. And then I started making calls and sending texts. I told people I had it. Because who says nearly 100% sure if they don't know? And a PET/CT scan is supposed to be the be-all and end-all that shows you every goddamn thing. I told people - I'm not afraid. Whatever it is, I will deal with it. Let's fix it. In my head, logistics of how things were going to happen just weighed me down. I should go back to America. I shouldn't. What?! I need to get it done soon...blah blah...all in my head - I was hashing this out.
I thought about Zoe. Even in moments of weakness like these, I shan't be weak. But I couldn't help feeling that I was fighting Goliath. I kept thinking about Zoe. I made my husband promise me that he will always keep the connection with my family if I weren't here. I was thinking all the things that were worse case scenario. It would be foolish for me not to. Yeah it is good to be positive, like I always strive to be. But I still have to think for Zoe, if for nobody else. What happens to her without me in the picture?

I felt so lucky that I had my brother with me. It wasn't a planned thing for him to be with me. He had work to do today. But he chose to come and it was a great comfort to me. Truly. And I'm not just writing for him to see either because I know he reads me here. It was just having someone there to help maybe take it in alongside me. And to drive me away from this place! ASAP!

No matter what, don't anybody give me false hope. Some have said, everything will be OK. do you even know that? You can't say that. So don't say that. I like it upfront and honest. Don't promise me something that can't be given. I'm a realist and I don't live in la la land!  I almost have to laugh despite the dire news. Just so people realise how ridiculous they sound.

To be continued.

No comments:

Post a Comment