Monday, November 14, 2011

Scan Anxiety - 11/14/11

I don't really freak out when it's time for my scans. It's an unavoidable necessity, and that's how I try to look at it. Of course, if I didn't have to have the scans so often or at all, it would be better, but you can't wish for something that you know is not going to happen. I would be lying if I said there wasn't some anxiety associated with having scans. I don't get to the point of refusing to go or getting sick over the thought of it. I go into the machine hoping for stability, if not regression, and no more progression. What bothers me is that I've been hurting a lot lately. Pain has always been a good indicator for me that something is not right. The pain is usually in the neck, head, and shoulder areas and sometimes on the right side of my back, below my rib cage. So, I'm thinking that I won't be given a stability diagnosis this time. The glass is half empty, pessimistic attitude is not a good one to have, but pain makes you irrational at times. For all the side effects that Xeloda is putting me through, I expect it to be working. Pain tells me that it's probably not.

I've stopped drinking the contrast from the oncologist's office and just show up to drink the yummy lemonade contrast an hour early for my CT scan at the imaging office. That has solved one problem. It's hard to get two bottles of the chalky, vanilla flavored (nope) contrast down. Both still give me stomach issues afterwards throughout the day, but at least, the lemonade contrast is tasty and tolerable.

I've also started to allow the technicians at the imaging office to use my port. I'm very leery of just anyone using the port, but the last time when they couldn't use the veins in my one good arm after the technician from the hospital for the bone scan had exhausted them, it wasn't so bad. Coming away with only a slightly bruised and sore arm is a plus.

I've also warned them ahead of time that, when they inject the dye in the vein or the port, they have to do it slowly so that it doesn't burn. Having scans every 3-4 months has taught me a lot about how to make these sessions go more pleasantly.

Laying down in the machines isn't that bad. The CT scan doesn't take too long. The bone scan takes over an hour some times. I'm not claustrophobic, and I usually just rest and relax while I'm in the machines. The top plate of the machine for the bone scan gets pretty close to smashing your face in, but eventually, that fear eases up, too.

I'll have two scans tomorrow. I'll go in for the radioactive dye injection for the bone scan, and then there's a three hour wait until I can be scanned. In the mean time, I'll go and drink the lemonade contrast, have the CT Scan, where they'll inject another dye contrast. Afterwards, I'll go back and have the bone scan. On Wednesday, I'll get the results from my oncologist.

Doesn't sound too bad, does it? So where does the anxiety come in? The interruption of a normal day, waiting for the results, the sticks in the vein and the port, dealing with the stomach issues afterwards, and the question of what my body is doing this month wears me down mentally. If it's progression, it's on to a new treatment regiment, with its unknown side effects. If it's stability or regression, it's a continuation of the current treatment regiment and its known side effects.

It's such a relief to be done with scans at the end of the day. I know that I'm free for another 3-4 months. I hope these new pains are scar tissue, new bone material building up and filling in the holes from the cancer eating through my spine, pelvic, skull, and right clavicle. I hope that my liver and left lung are benefiting from the Xeloda. They were the problem children from the last CT scan. I want a good report. I really do. But I just don't know. I will not know until I see the oncologist on Wednesday. Until the results, it's constantly on my mind every time my oncologist looks at my medical chart and announces "it's time to schedule you for your scans."

No food or fluids are allowed after midnight tonight. No problem. I'm usually out by 9:00 p.m. most nights any way, lol.

1 comment:

  1. I am an early to bed person too. I also get up insanely early.
    I am sorry you have to wait for the results so long. For me, at least, uncertainty is always a torture.
    Good luck tomorrow. I'll be sending positive vibes your way.
    And yes, I will let you know about my first marathon. I'll probably have to crawl but this is nothing in comparison to what you are going through. Hugs.