It’s that time of year again. Time for the CT Scan and the blood work. Time for the barium and the iodine.
None of that is really all that bad. It’s the week between the tests and the results that still gets me anxious. There’s something about the fact that there is paperwork somewhere in the health system that has facts about me that I need to know NOW!
My anxiety isn’t anything like it used to be. I remember back when I had my first checkup after I was declared cancer free. I was a wreck for weeks. Now I’m just a wreck privately for a few days.
It all starts with the actual scan now. I step into the room with the friendly techs who ask me some standard questions:
Are you diabetic? No.
When did you drink the Barium? 8:45
Are you allergic to iodine? No.
Why are you here? Cancer followup.
Then I lay down on the table with my feet towards the machine as the second tech taps my arm for the iodine push. We’re all very chatty and the mood is light. I explain it’s not my first rodeo and notice they have a new CT Scan machine and how I prefer CT to PET scans. Once they are set, they tell me to put my hands over my head and listen to the female voice for breathing instructions and start up the machine. I do one set of passes and then they come out to push the iodine for contrast and do a second set of passes. This time, my hands are in the air.
The second pass is done and the first tech comes out to chat while the second checks to make sure the scans are clear. Once She gives the “ok” they start to get me out of the machine. This is the moment the anxiety starts to creep in.
Right at that moment I start eyeing the technicians. I’m looking for their “tell”. Did they see something? Are they being extra polite to me because they can see on the scans that I’m doomed?!! I used to try to be sly and ask open ended questions looking for information. “Everything look good?” I’d say it in that nonchalant tone of just trying to make idle chat. As if to say, “I’m really interested in your work… and not because you just took pictures of my insides…” They obviously never buy it, “Result will be ready by Friday and sent to your doctor. Make sure you drink lots of water to flush out the iodine.” I’m sure they get hit up for information all the time.
So now back to the changing room to get changed and go on with my day. Now that the picture has been taken I start to analyze my last few weeks. “Anything weird???” I think. “Well, I’ve had some headaches lately.” And it has started.
Like I said, not as bad as it used to be, but it lingers….
Michael is a Colon cancer survivor living in the Nevada desert with his wife, cat and dog. He is lucky enough to have some family close but wishes he was closer to all his family. When not working he spends his days trying to make stuff from pretty much anything.