Yesterday was an interesting day, the day I got the results of my second PET scan during treatment. I went in feeling nervous because I’ve had some new joint pain recently, but Dr H was very reassuring. He showed me the first scan from February, showing all of the tumours, then the first treatment scan from May and finally the new scan.
At this point, I stopped listening and my heart sank – there were signs of possible tumour growth that weren’t there in May; this scan looked worse not better. How could this be? Dr H was so positive last time. Then came the good news. “You’re doing really well. Have you been more active recently?” Well yes, I’d just come back from holiday and been trying hard to walk more, and I’ve also been trying to use my PC more too. So what was going on? Basically, he thinks the new hot spots (active areas) in my bones are most likely just the result of extra activity and nothing to worry about, because there are no affected lymph nodes showing (unlike February), although he’ll keep an eye on my bones (so another scan in 2 months). He’s also stopped the chemotherapy after 6 cycles instead of 8 and is going to continue with just Avastin and Zometa, so no more blood transfusions.
Phew! Well, that serves me right for trying not to be a couch potato and actually walking (very slowly and out of breath) up a hill! Not to mention lots of sightseeing and sleeping on hard beds while on holiday. Maybe I should just accept my destiny and retire to the sofa with my magazines, books and films (and lots of chocolate!)? Now I have even more reason to sit down and play with Munchkin’s toys (always a silver lining!). And I’ll be going back to voice recognition software, if anyone can recommend a good package. Well, it’s either that or Husband power!
I have to admit to still being a bit nervous, but then who wouldn’t under the circumstances. But I’m happy with Dr H’s explanation and will get on with things as best I can until the next scan.
What’s a PET scan? It’s a scan on a CT machine, the one that looks like an open white tube, and you’re injected with radioactive glucose (sugar) after fasting for 6 hours then lie down for an hour (trying not to think about the scan and absolutely no reading or using your phone in case you get a false positive but not on a bed comfortable enough to actually sleep on!). As tumours are nasty, greedy, selfish things that grow more quickly than normal tissue, they’re also starving and the glucose goes straight to them, so they glow if they’re growing or present. What also shows up are black areas for the brain, heart, kidneys and bladder, all perfectly normal.
For me, the worst part is not being able to go near Munchkin for the rest of the day (because he’s under 5 years), or pregnant friends either. Having to lie still (and not think about how much my shoulder hurts or even that my nose is suddenly itching like mad!) isn’t great either, but I always make it through in the end. Music helps, although I almost laughed out loud at the appropriateness of Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars last time, which came on just as the scan started: “If I lay here/If I just lay here/Would you lie with me/And just forget the world?”