Thursday, 18 April 2013

A Scary Day

Today is so scary, I've been in a state about it now for nearly a week. They decided against doing a bone scan to see what these two lesions on my spine are, and instead they are giving me a Pet Scan, not to see if I've swallowed any dogs or cats, but to find out absolutely definitely if the cancer has spread there or anywhere else. They don't give Pet Scans to everyone, they are really expensive, so they reserve them for those of us who have a real risk of cancer spreading out of control. It's very clever, the scan picks up sugars in the body, and where there is cancer, sugars behave differently. With a bone or a body scan, any cancer has to be half a centimetre to be seen; Pet Scans detect cancer at cell level. 

In some ways, it's a very odd, but strangely exciting place to be. Next Friday, I'll get the results, and whatever they are will life-changing. The good news will be that there is no cancer whatsoever, which will mean that for the first time in nearly a year I can relax and know that all these really gruelling months of treatment will have been worth every moment, and I'll be able to start to put it all behind me and live a long and deliriously happy life. The bad news will be that the cancer is incurable, which will mean that cancer treatment will be an ongoing part of my life forever, and that that I will probably die much sooner than most people. It's like standing on top of a mountain, and waiting to see which way I get pushed, and the whole decision is completely out of my hands. 

That's not the scary part of today. The scary part of today is that, in just over an hour, I have to face my needle fear all over again, but plus plus plus. I am the most needle-phobic patient ever, and if you're new to this blog, there is a previous post you can read where I explained all about my riduculously embarrassing stupid phobia: 

They can't use my portacath because the stuff they need to inject is sticky, and would stick to the plastic tube leading into me rather than making it all the way into my veins. They can't even use my arms, because the armpit surgery I've had on both sides means that there may be scar tissue which might prevent the stuff circulating properly. Oh no, my worst fear of all, they are going to   inject into veins in my feet. I've seen some poor people in the chemo room have this done, and it's always scared the living daylights out of me. I've been bursting into tears all over the place all week about this, and lying awake at night frightened witless. I've tried to get it into perspective and not be such a pathetic wimp over the whole thing, but I have failed dismally. 

I'll get there at 9.30am, they will do the needle sticking into me part, and no doubt this will go on forever because they can never find a decent vein until they've poked and stabbed a squillion times. Then I have to lie completely still for an hour to let the stuff circulate and bind with all the sugars in my body, then the scan itself will take up to 90 minutes. So I'll have to lie still and not move a muscle for nearly three hours. Me? Are they serious? If the needle doesn't kill me I might die of boredom. Oh, and I'm not allowed to eat until afterwards - which should be something to take my mind off it and look forward to a yummy lunch, but right now I'm not convinced I'll even live that long. 

I wanted to write about all sorts of things, but time is short and I really have to go. If I get a chance later, and I actually do survive this ordeal and I'm still alive, I'll try and write some more, probably about happy things like birthday parties and stage plays, and maybe even a bit about the language people use to describe having cancer. Wish me luck! 


  1. That's not the scary part... how I love that line! Today sounds hard... but of course it's still only 24 hours long - max! And that's "only" 144 ten minute chunks - even counting the ones you already slept through.
    You will get through this day, and then (phew) it will be in the past.
    Love you!

  2. Benedicte, you were right, it is history. And towards the end of the actual scan, my angel technician said "Another 9 minutes". I'd just read your comment beforehand and had to suppress a little laugh - I was already a minute into one of those chunks! Thank you, as always xxx