Monday, March 21, 2016


Scan day kind of snuck up on me this time around. I didn't really think that was possible, but more than four-and-a-half years in, this path I'm on still surprises me.

And it's been awhile, so my oncologist ordered a PET/CT instead of just a CT. 

My very basic understanding of the imaging processes is that a CT scan exposes me to less radiation (but still something like 6 months' worth of normal everyday radiation, all in one sitting). Using x-ray technology, a CT scan shows cross-sections of my bones, organs and tissues, as if I'd been cut into teeny tiny slices. If something abnormal -- a tumor, say -- were present, the images would show where and give my doctors a pretty precise idea of its size.

In a PET scan, by contrast, I show up to the scan after fasting all morning and avoiding carbs the day before. (I AM FREAKING HUNGRY AND I NEED COFFEE.) Prior to the scan, I'm injected with a radioactive glucose, the idea being that any cancer cells would eat it up and then light up on screen. This "uptake" is then measured to give doctors an idea of how active (or not) any cancer is. There's quite a bit more radiation exposure with a PET scan since, well, they INJECT ME WITH RADIOACTIVE GLUCOSE.

(That tube right there is connected to my port; that radioactive sugar -- stored in that lead capsule to avoid exposure to the technicians -- is going pretty straight to my heart.)

In fact, I'm specifically told not to be in the vicinity of children under the age of 12 or pregnant women for four hours after leaving the hospital.

I don't know why, but this fact makes me extra emotional.


Chris and I were discussing logistics yesterday while Quinn was in the car. Quinn has heard so much in his five years. My medical issues are a part of our day-to-day lives and lexicon, and I don't often think to filter myself, especially when to some degree we're just talking about pre-school pick-ups and doggie daycare. I was telling Chris that since I'm supposed to avoid pregnant women and children for four hours, it might be best to take the puppy to doggie daycare, too, to avoid risk to her. Out of an abundance of caution.  

Somehow, this is where Quinn's ears perked up. "Why can't you be around kids?" he asked from the backseat.

"Because some of the stuff they have to put in me for the pictures they're taking is radioactive, and it's not safe for you to be around. But it'll be fine by the time I pick you up from school," I said.

"What's radioactive?" 

At which point Chris chimed in, trying (I think) to be funny but also to educate our 5-year-old. He is, after all, a professor of geology. "Radiation is the energy released when an unstable isotope of an element changes to a stable isotope."

"Huh?" Quinn and I both said.

"Um, it's just something to help them look inside mommy, like an x-ray, but stronger, and it means I can't be around you for a little bit. You'll be at school so you won't even know the difference," I tried. 

"But you can't be around me for four hours," Quinn said, clearly getting anxious about it.

"I don't want you to worry about that, buddy. Four hours is like the time from when I usually drop you off until when your friends have nap time. Please don't worry," I said.

"It's really hard not to worry about it," he said, and my heart broke open a bit, again.

I turned around to hold his hand, then. "Please don't worry, okay?"

Please. Don't. Worry. Don't worry about mommy leaving you, about my scans, about anything at all, my little man. My child.


So this is Monday. This is so many days. I hate cancer.


  1. Ilove you and your writing. I hate this disease. :(

  2. You and your family are so strong. I hope you feel well after Quinn is out of school and ou get to enjoy a wonderful rest of the day together!

  3. So poignant. I hope it went well.

  4. I hate everything about this. I prayer for your peace, your safety, and for many years to come when you can be around everybody, all of the time. <3

  5. My hospital doesn't have eating requirements outside of fasting the day of (a certain number of hours before scan). I always find it interesting that other hospitals have the requirement, maybe I should try the diet and see how it impacts my scans! Hrm. Scanxiety is the worst of anxieties. I hope it all goes smooth for you and you can all put this behind you so that there is a lot less worrying!

  6. I've never had a PET or CT scan but I worry if I ever have to deal with a metastasis because of the constant follow up scans. It turns out my mutated gene (ATM) gets activated with certain level of radiation, which can cause certain cancers.This is the BC gene that probably caused my disease. It bothers me so much that we don't have better ways to treat cancer after so many years of dealing with the disease. Anyway, that's just one of many issues.

    I am hoping your test results come back fine. The wait seems to be the worst part. I am sorry that you and your family are dealing with all these uncertainties and fears. It is unacceptable. xoxo

  7. My mom had stage IV metastatic. They gave her a year, she lasted 7. All I can say is cancer is utter bullshit. I wish you strength, laughs during the struggle and happiness with your family.

  8. Worried. Update when can.

  9. I have a 4 yr old daughter and hope to make it many more years. I was initially dx for the same reason. March 2016 I received my 2nd dx and am so heartbroken. There has not been enough time on this Earth to spend with my husband and daughter. I hate this stage IV disease!

  10. I have a 4 yr old daughter and hope to make it many more years. I was initially dx for the same reason. March 2016 I received my 2nd dx and am so heartbroken. There has not been enough time on this Earth to spend with my husband and daughter. I hate this stage IV disease!

  11. Prayers to you for Peace and Serenity and to all of you courageous Young ladies and Mom's!! Your son is Beautiful Like His Mommy & Daddy!! I am a Mom to a Lovely Lady Living Day By day with Stage 4 cancer too! I am ALWAYS so Proud and AMAZED at how she handles this journey! I HATE cancer and Pray that some day SOON they will find a cure!! Prayers for Great Results today and always!!