The PET scan. My least favorite of the scans I’ve had to undergo. I have one scheduled this month. It is to make sure the cancer has not come back and metastasized elsewhere. As you can imagine, the moment I got the call to schedule it my mind has become anxious. With a PET scan you are taken to a radiation secure room where a nurse enters with a metal box containing a syringe encased in a tungsten cylinder to contain the radioactive contrast dye, usually glucose. They inject the radioactive sugar into you and make you wait for 45 minutes to let the contrast circulate through your body and find any cancer they may be there.
The way it works is that any cancer in your body will metabolize the sugar faster than the rest of your body. The trick is to remain relatively still for the 45 minutes it takes to circulate. If you move around too much, your muscles will consume some of the sugar in the contrast and cloud up the image. The actual scan then takes about a half hour to complete. You should probably stay away from small children for the rest of the day since you are radioactive for a while after the scan.
This scan will mark the 6 month anniversary of being declared cancer free. It’s hard to feel cancer free as you head into one of these tests. The reason for them is the real threat that the cancer may come back. You try not to think about it too much because there is not a whole lot you can do until you hear the results, but it sits in the back of your mind, festering.
It seems like I’ve picked up a lot of new anniversary dates since I was diagnosed with cancer. The first being when I was diagnosed with cancer. There’s the start of Radiation therapy and the end of radiation therapy. My surgery date. The start of chemo. Finally there is the diagnoses of being cancer free. That would be October 17th, 2011. Also my last day of chemo.
My PET scan will be April 17th, exactly six months later. I won’t know my results until a week after that. Hopefully it will be a day to celebrate!