The Scan Saga

I’ve already had multiple scans to date: mammogram and ultrasound. Today continues the scans for better image of the state of the cancer: PET and MRI. To prepare for the PET scan, needed to go on low-carb and low-sugar diet for 24hrs. It brought me back to my paleo days: eggs, avocado, steak, cali-rice, spinach and Brussels. Had dinner with Pastor Soon, Esther and the fam – grateful that they were able to accommodate the dietary restrictions. One thing is for certain – it’ll be much easier for me to go vegetarian/pescatarian vs low-carb long-term. I’d trade ribeye steak for flaky croissant or fruit any day.

The scans were scheduled back-to-back starting bright and early 7am. I had a difficult time sleeping through the night, so was able to get up for the appointment without an issue. Both PET and MRI requires IV line placed in my arm. For someone who NOT a fan of needles, I’m going to have handle dealing with that because I see a lot of needles in my future (needed for bloodwork, injections, chemo, etc). It’ll be like in high school when I learned how to swallow pills from positive TB test (I think it was a false positive, but had to take the pills anyway). The IV line went in fairly easily – didn’t feel anything. First they drew blood to test the blood sugar to make sure it was low enough so it doesn’t interfere with the PET contrast solution. Since the body has been deprived of sugar, it’s craving glucose – the solution mimic sugar + added dye to show metabolic activity. Fast growing cells will show brighter in the image. I put on my science nerd hat on chatting with the nurse while waiting for the blood sugar reading. Blood sugar level was in the 70s, so good to go for the PET scan. I was injected with radioactive dye. Need to wait an hour before the scan to let my body metabolize the solution so I went to quiet/waiting area. The set-up was really nice – reclining chair, water, warm blanket. Before starting the image, had to make sure that all metal objects and accessories were removed. Reminder: always wear yoga pants for all imaging so you don’t have to deal metal buttons on jeans or zippers. Luckily, I had done that for comfort already. The PET imaging room had beautiful ceiling – lights were arranged like twinkling stars. I was able to lay down for this one and the scan itself was only 15 min so it was pretty easy. Since I’ve been injected with radioactive dye, I was advised to not interact with infants and small creatures for 6 hrs. After the PET scan, I went over to the MRI floor.

The MRI is much longer, louder, more uncomfortable and also requires changing. The imaging itself was 30 min total, they have to inject contrast during the middle of the scan and I had to lay down on my stomach the whole time. They gave me ear plugs and headphones to drown out the noise of the machine. I was given choice of what Spotify Channel to play during the scan, so I went with Kelly Clarkson Radio. I’m glad I did cause the songs on the list had upbeat rhythm that closely matched the pulsing of the machine. It would’ve really annoyed me if I choose a list that clashed with the machine rhythm. At the end of 30 mins, it was time to go home and have lunch. I’d been there until 11:30am and hadn’t eaten anything yet. I had to fast 6hrs for the PET scan, so no breakfast or snacking while reclining for that hour.

Overall, the scans were relatively easy and painless. Later that afternoon, my legs ended up majorly cramping. It went away after some heat pads, stretching, massaging and CM Complex Cream (ointment). Note to self: drink more water. On a low sugar diet, I couldn’t supplement with Liquid IV. The scan results take ~24 hrs to process, so I’ll get notified of the results tomorrow, if not early next week. Fingers cross that it’ll reveal positive result.

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