Any medical procedure that involves a nap is a good one in my book. This latest one involved two!
By way of education, the PET scan is very much like a CT scan except that they inject you with a radioactive sugar solution. Now, every cell in the human body absorbs sugar through our blood. Its how we run; how each cell is fuelled to do whatever it is they do.
The cancer cell, however, is a greedy little bastard that absorbs more than its share of the sugar. That kind of figures, doesn’t it? If cancer was a person he would be that “gimme this” and “gimme that” prick who everybody hates because he can’t think of anyone but himself. A real waste of space.
The day starts with nothing to eat for 6 hours but keep hydrated so you can piss out the scary concoction they are going to pump into your veins. Then they stick in a catheter and pump in a quarter cup of saline for good measure. Take a ten minute nap at this point.
Then they take advantage of cancer’s greed by feeding everybody the radioactive sugar for 45 minutes while I get wrapped in a warm blanket for nap number two. Cancer pigs out on the stuff and then, when they do the scan, the little gluttons glow like LED lights. Even the smallest cancer cell will be visible in the scan.
If you can lay perfectly still for 20 minutes holding your arms over your head while they scoot you back and forth through a small culvert that hums like its under a freeway (I’m glad to say, I can), then the whole procedure is over in three trips through the machine.
So now they have dayglo pictures of everything between my pelvis and my eyebrows so they can play count the cancer cells. Lets hope its a short game.
Finally, Bill, this one is for you. The technician told me a patient once brought his dog with him, thinking they needed to scan his PET.