Day 3,908 – Bone Scan

Today was the day for my bone scan, with two appointments to make it all happen.

The “Juice”

I had a 10:15 a.m. appointment to get the radioactive juice (oops, contrast) injected into my system so that it had time for the scheduled 1:45 p.m. scan.

I’ve learned over the years that you have to have a little fun with those sticking needles into your arm, so I asked the nuclear medicine technician, “Has anyone ever started belting out Debbie Boone’s You Light Up My Life as you inject this stuff?”

He looked perplexed, but was old enough to know the song I was referring to.

“Uh, nope. You would be the first.”

“There’s no way I’m singing. I clear dogs from a three county radius when I do.”

He chuckled, turned the valve on my IV, and let the juice “light me up.”

The cool thing was that I checked in at the front desk at 9:50 a.m. and was walking out of there at 10:15 a.m., the time of my appointment. All done.

The Scan

As I was leaving the morning appointment, the tech told me to drink plenty of fluids, and to come back at 12:45 p.m. instead of 1:45 p.m. Not a problem.

As we walked back to the scanner, he said, “Let’s get some pictures.”

“Oh. Just like my high school yearbook, except those were taken using a Daguerreotype camera.”

Without skipping a beat, he chimed in, “By Matthew Brady?”

Of course, being a native Illinoisan with an affinity for all things Abraham Lincoln and, to a lesser extent, the American Civil War, that resonated with me. [For my international readers, Matthew Brady was a photographer who pioneered photojournalism during the Civil War, and took a number of portraits of President Abraham Lincoln.]

That caused me to relay a story of when I was working at the San Diego Natural History Museum, and, when a kid learned I was from Illinois, he asked, in all earnestness, “Did you go to school with Abraham Lincoln.” Ouch!

As far as the scan was concerned, it went well. Strap me in, slide me in, and poof, we’re done in about 45 minutes or so (I never really looked at the clock to time it). But he did want to get a second run of my pelvic region. Apparently, my bladder filled with radioactive juice and he didn’t have a clear image of what was going on. After a quick trip to empty my bladder, we got a much better view.

Of course, I had to ask, “Did you see anything like Petco Park lit up at night?” [Petco Park is the baseball stadium for the San Diego Padres professional baseball team.]

He reluctantly deferred to waiting for the doctor’s interpretation, but then he offered, “I didn’t see anything.”

“Good. I won’t hold you to that,” I said.

I’ll start looking for the results online over the weekend and will post when I read them.

Have a great weekend and be well!

Day 3,892 – Scan-a-Palooza

Let the radioactive fun begin!

I was able to schedule my bone and CT scans this morning with considerable ease. In fact, things will happen much sooner than I thought they might. My CT scan is scheduled next Wednesday, 14 July, and my bone scan is scheduled Friday, 23 July.

I have to go for some pre-scan lab work tomorrow afternoon to ensure that my kidneys are working fine and won’t be damaged by one of the contrasts.

I haven’t given up on the Ga-68 PSMA PET scan. In fact, I wrote my health insurance company an email about 4:30 a.m. as I tossed and turned. (Last night was hell. If I slept more than 2 hours—non-consecutively—that was about it.) They tout having a response within 2 business days, so we’ll see if they come through with that.

UCLA is out of network for my insurance company, so I’d have to cough up 40% of the cost if they’re going to cover it at all. I’m okay with that. (For my overseas readers, welcome to U.S. health care systems!)

So that’s the latest and greatest. More to come, I’m sure.

Be well!

Day 2,019 – It’s Official

May is the month of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes horse races, and you always have to wait a few moments before the unofficial results are declared official.

I just saw the doctor’s interpretation of my bone scan results online, and it’s official: No metastasis.

Now where’s my damned Garland of Roses?!?!?

Photo: Craiglduncan at English Wikipedia


Month 66 – Cancer Survivorship

I was going to use this interesting article from the New York Times: Cancer Survivors Celebrate Their Cancerversary, as a basis for last month’s regular post, but then I got my PSA results and things went to hell in a hand basket. After reading the article, I originally wrote:

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m one to remember dates and anniversaries, but I generally fall into the category of reserved celebration, I guess. Yes, I’m around to hit another milestone, but that damned little cancer recurrence cloud will be over my shoulder for the rest of my days.

Little did I know that that cloud would begin to grow in size, mirroring the growth of my PSA.

It’s been a difficult five weeks, and I’ve struggled with what to write for this post. That’s because I’m still struggling to figure out what’s happening and just how I’m responding to it. It’s hard to articulate something when you haven’t exactly figured out what you’re feeling. It’s been all over the place.

The raw emotions have subsided, but there have been two lasting side effects of the notion that my PSA is creeping closer to recurrence.

First, it’s been as though I’ve taken a bad spill and the wind has been knocked out of me. I feel as though the I’ve been sprawled out on the ground, disoriented, for the last month, trying to regain my breath before I can get back up and function normally again.

Part of me wants to simply stay on the ground, but the other part of me is trying to snap me out of that mindset and to engage in life at full speed ahead. As the surgeon, John Healy, in the NYT article said:  “Everybody dies,” he said. “But not everybody lives. I want you to live.”

So do I.

The second side effect has been that the anger remains at various intensity levels. My fuse is generally shorter and I don’t tolerate silly very well at the moment. And “silly” can be even the littlest of things. I really have to watch how I interact with those around me so as not to have them bear the brunt of my frustration with my current situation. I’m not the same person I was in March.

Keeping this hidden from those around me may be adding to that sense of anger, so perhaps it’s time that I come clean with them. And if it doesn’t alleviate it, at least they’ll know why I’ve turned into someone who will give Jeff Dunham’s curmudgeonly character, Walter, a run for his money.

My baseline bone scan is scheduled for 19 May, a week from tomorrow. I’m not overly worried about it at the moment. Of course, I’m sure there will be more than a twinge of “what if” while waiting for the results.

I just realized that we didn’t schedule a follow-up visit with the urologist to review the results. I’ll have to get that sorted.

Day 1,990 – Quick Update

Just a quick update on a Friday afternoon…

Emotionally, doing quite well, although I still have the occasional fit of being pissed at this whole situation. Otherwise, pretty much back to my normal day-in, day-out routine.

I’ve also been doing a bit of reading on the concept of recurrence and treatments. Not obsessively, and not letting it add fuel to any emotional fire. Absorbing it in small doses with an open mind. If anyone has any compelling article, book, or other source on the topic, please feel free to share.

I received confirmation today that the next step in the process—the bone scan—is scheduled for 19 May 2016. I’m fine with that.