Ah, the PET scan – a quarterly joy for every cancer patient. Here’s how it works:
- Fast for 4 hours.
- Show up to the radiology department in comfy clothes.
- A nurse takes me to an empty room. She takes some information and pricks my finger for a glucose test. (If your sugar is too high, they cannot perform the test.)
- Now the fun part! The nurse places an IV and retrieves a funny looking cylinder from (what I assume is) a secret vault. It contains one dose of radioactive glucose. From memory, the steel cylinder is approximately 4″ long and 2″ in diameter. She injects me with the magic potion.
- Then I sit with my legs propped up for an hour. The radioactive goo rides around in my body and attaches to the cancer cells. Evidently cancer loves sugar.
- Scan scan scan. The actual scan takes about 40 minutes. I lie on a thin platform (similar to an MRI or CT but thinner) and they wrap me with a large Velcro band to keep my arms still at my sides.
The result is a color 3D image of my body. As I understand, the thousands of images are compiled so a doctor can view the body in layers. (This page contains some example PET images and videos.) I meet with my oncologist to discuss the results on Monday.
I have physical therapy in the afternoon. It’s pretty routine. The therapists are very nice, the exercises are brainless, and I usually run out of air long before my muscles tire.
In the evening I will be parked in front of a TV to watch one of the first big events of the NASCAR season: the Gatorade Duels.
I never thought I would be a NASCAR fan. Never-ever-ever. I thought it was just a bunch of rednecks driving in circles. And then I met Seth. He is a NASCAR fan, so I thought, ‘what the hell, I’ll keep an open mind.’ By the end of the season, I had selected ‘my driver’ and was hooked. Last season ended with my mom’s favorite driver and mine in a photo finish for the championship! Alas, her guy won, and I may still owe her a back rub.
This is the first weekend of the season. The qualifying races are on Thursday, the trucks race on Friday, one class of cars is on Saturday, and the famous Daytona 500 is on Sunday. I predict a lot of wrecks and a great photo finish!
So that’s my Thursday. The plan for Friday? SLEEP!