Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Busy Week!

Brrrr!!!!! Woke up this morning with a cold nose, put on my housecoat, a nice fleece hat, and went outside with Buster! Wow!!!! 28 degrees worth of chilly bumps, believe me! But it warmed up nice and is about 70 degrees now. Sunny, blue skies, and a slight breeze --- that's what Florida is all about!!!!

Wednesday was my appointment for the PET scan. They give you an injection of radioactive glucose and you have to wait about 40 minutes for that to circulate throughout your body. I asked why the glucose??? The tech said that cancer cells thrive on sugar. I didn't know that, or had forgotten about that. They have you fast with no carbs or sugar for 24 hours before the testing. That way, your cancer cells (if you have any) grab onto that glucose stuff. When they run you through the narrow tunnel and do the scan, even the smallest cell of cancer will show up on the results. He said it's better than a CT scan as with this, the cancer has to be a certain size before it shows up. I was worried at first, because I didn't think I could hold my arms over my head for 25 minutes. But then I was told that arms are down at your sides, so that was a relief. It all went fine --- very uneventful. Didn't even have to undress.

Thursday was my consultation with the radiologist Dr. He was just the nicest guy I've ever met. My sister had already told me how much she had liked this Dr., so I was at ease with him from the get-go. He went over my chart with me, asked lots of questions, examined me, then told me all about the radiation treatments, etc. He then asked if I would consent to a fairly new treatment called "hyperthermia" along with the radiation treatments. I had never heard of it. He said that they heat the area they are treating and make it hot and then do the radiation. This is supposed to make the radiation results much better. I agreed, very cautiously, thinking that if this hurt or caused major burns, I'd just quit that part. You KNOW that I ran home and googled this, as I had never heard of it before. And YES, I found more than I ever needed to know about it. Evidently, they put a plastic baggie of water on your chest, then a microwave comes down over it and slowly heats it up to 104 to 113 degrees. Somewhere it said it's like being in a hot tub. I can handle that, I think.

Friday, I went yet AGAIN, this time for what is called the "simulation radiation setup." Again, I had no idea what to expect. Strip to the waist and put a little gown on. Don't know why the gown as soon as I got in there, they took it OFF!!!!! I was back in the CT scan room --- remember that post about lying on the plank with my arms over my head --- yep! That's the one! So there I am, bare naked to the waste with "pajama man" and his trusty helper. I told them I was sure I could NOT get my arm over my head, but he jokingly said he would use a winch or a "comealong" to pull it up there! I cringed!!!!! So. . . . I lay back on the plank and they put a wedgey under my knees and a huge plastic pillow filled with styrofoam beads under my head.
Then they told me to get my arm up over my head. Slowly, I did it, groaning and moaning all the way. I was able to do it when I could grab my hand with my other hand and gently pull it back. NOT a happy camper now, mind you! Then, they began to position me, turning my head, pulling, pushing, turning, etc. I'll tell you, when you get cancer like this, you lose all your sense of being private, reserved, etc. All this time, I'm naked, wondered what the gown was for in the first place?????

When they got me positioned, they started vacuuming the air out of the plastic pillow, until it formed a perfect mold of my position. This will be the form I lay in each time I get the radiation treatments. OK!!!! Test run (simulation) time!
They slowly get the plank I'm laying on to the right height, and they slide me into the tunnel. After about 5 minutes, they bring me back out, and tell me we have to do the mold all over again because it didn't look good. So we start over in a new position and go through it all again. This time, it's good.

The Dr. comes in. I'm still naked, mind you, arms over my head, and he starts drawing all over my chest with a magic marker. This is the radiation field. He tells the girl something and she asks, "What?" He repeats himself and she says yes. When the doc leaves, she asks pajama man, "Do you know what he was talking about?" And he laughs and says, "Not a clue!" Oh well!!!

Now the fun part. I get tatoos!!!!! STILL with my arms over my head. I feel defenseless as I can't punch anyone if it hurts, nor can I jump up and run!!!!! Three little tatoos -- one on each side and one in the middle of my belly. These are the markers they will line up the machine with each time I go for radiation. It didn't hurt --- it was like getting a shot. Another useless worry! I'm such a whuss when it comes to worrying about pain!

And that ended that long day! Took about 2 hours from start to finish!

Oh!!!! The best part! I asked if the results of the PET scan had come back and pajama man said, "Yes, it's right here! Do you want to read it?" I grabbed that piece of paper out of his hand, as I had really worried that I might light up like a Christmas tree and find the cancer spread all over my body. NOTHING! Totally unremarkable, it said! Another useless worry! That was definitely a load lifter, believe me!

So. . . . I will know next week about when I start the actual radiation treatments. 30 treatments, every day, 5 days a week . . . so that's 6 weeks!!!! And then it is ALL OVER!!! We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel!


Dani said...

Cora, so glad you made it through and its so helpful to have you post your experience...yeah! no cancer cells! its worth it, huh? I will still be praying of course but you are right, the light is growing at the end of tunnel...

katie said...

yea Cora, you are on the home stretch. Monday I will start my 6th week of radiation, can't believe it is almost over. Lots of red skin and rash, but not that much to complain about. Best of wishes to you.


Ruthie said...

Hurrah for the results of your PET scan!!! Praise the Lord. I love your continued sense of humor as you post about your experiences. Glad you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

Wanita said...

Praise the Lord for your unremarkable PET scan, Cora! Now we'll pray you through the six weeks of radiation.


Joyfulsister said...

Hi Cora,
Yes!!! Starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I remember a saying that said when you are going through a tunnel and although you don't see the light you do not fear the darkness and jump off, you trust the driver of the train to take you through the darkness till you start to see the light and get out of the darkness. And this saying reminds me of your journey my sister. I have seen you trusting the Lord to take you through your tunnel. I contiue to pray for you, you have become a part of my morning prayers since I met you.

Luv ya Lorie

LisaShaw said...

Hi Cora,

Saw you over at Lea's. I said a prayer for you. Please add me to your list of supporters in the battle against cancer. I am praying for you sister.

Blessings and peace.

Vikki G said...

I am so sorry that you had to endure all of that for so many hours...I hope that they at least were compassionate. But Praise God that your scan was clear. Will say a prayer for you as you undergo the treatment.

SweetAnnee said...

Cora Dear, Radiation made me be prepared to rest during the day. I had to have
my hands over my head..but they had a bar to hold on to..helped but it still was uncomfortable..

I'll pray thing go well

Kath said...

Hi Cora!
So happy to read baout the results of your PET scan!! HOOOOOORAY!
....and I am so glad you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!
You remain in my prayers.

Char5 said...

YAY Cora!!! Glad that you are seeing that light! I may not always leave a comment, but stop by here often to see how things are going for you. I was so glad to read your good news. You remain in our prayers, dear. I will be with you in spirit and in prayer through the next 6 weeks.

Love in Christ,
Charlotte in WV

LindaSueBuhl said...

I'm so grateful I read this post today - my late husband participated in one of the early studies on using PET scanning for seeking out scattered cancer cells in the body. He was so glad someone would someday get help in their situation by that study - how cool is it that I read your blog and see the PET scan info. You'll do so well with this last phase - lots of prayers and faith keep one going. Bless you dear lady -

Renna said...

Oh, Cora. You've been through so much. I'm praising God for your PET scan report!

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Hey Miss Cora,
I felt like I was layin on that plank right next to ya... ;) Your English teacher would be so proud how you learned thee use of ADJECTIVES! HEEHEE Felt like I went through it and got tattooed with ya!
I love your picture of the light at thee end of the tunnel... you're gettin there girlfriend!
Hey... maybe they could tattoo some eagle wings on there? ya might hafta ask! heehee

ByLightOfMoon said...

Awesome story of what you are going through, just remember these folks see naked folks all the time and we really all look kind of alike anyway so they don't even consider it like you do.

I hope you don;t habe to lay like that during the treatments very long. Good luck with them,SO glad you asked about the pet scan. Great News! Smiles, cyndi

The Vintage Rose said...

Cora, I came across from Lea of Farmhouse blessings and scanned through and read some of your posts. I am so blessed to read your journey of faith and trial and the beauty of good humour. I especially liked the post about things one might need to know if one has an operation and all about that handy grabber and how you might even need a spare one to pick up the grabber if you drop it, I laughed at the way you wrote it. {[HUGS]}

Debra said...

Oh Cora, you are wonderful. I'm crying away here, trying to type...Just want to tell you that you're in my prayers and thoughts every day.
Love, Debra

Judy's Vintage Collections said...

Cora, what a delight to hear the good news of no new cancer cells..God is good! I will have a good testimony about it in church here in the heart of Texas....They know your name, as I do request prayers for you...I am glad you can see the light coming to the end of this dark tunnel you had to travel....
be safe in Jesus is my prayer,
love and hugs,

Old Glory Soldiers said...

Hi Cora,

I have visited often, and want to say that the way you handle everything, with a laugh and a tear is so very real!

Words often escape me, and others I am sure too, but your story is heard by many.

God Bless You,

Toni said...

Oh my goodness!You have been through so much!What anincredible testamony of faith your journey has been to me.Thank you so much for sharing the most intimate details of these tests with us.The way you care about others is so amazing.
Praise God,that the cancer has not spread anywhere els!!That is fantastic news.
I`ll be praying that God will continue to uphold you and give you strength to endure the weeks to come.
Take care.
Love and blessings,

papel1 said...

How amazing that you can sit down and write about these experiences. It is quite interesting, maybe not a fun interesting experience for you!! The radiation treatments sound quite complicated.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Your description of the process is so clear and vivid. Hang in there. It will soon be over. I didn't know that cancer cells cling or gravitate to sugar.

Barb said...

I'm so glad to finally meet you.
I have seen your name on other blogs, and lifted up prayers for you, but never clicked on your site.

What an ordeal to go through, and naked!!
How much worse can it get?
Oh, silly question, you know how much.
I'm so glad your scan came out clear, and your spirits are lifted.

Now, down to business!
Thanks for posting it on your blog, and for telling us two of the many things i know you are thankful for.
Drop a note back to me so i can put your name in again. That's the easiest way for me to do it.

Blessings as you continue trusting in Him.

Barbara Jean

The Whites said...

Hi Cora,
This is my first visit to your blog, but I have been praying for you! I'm so glad you got a good report!


Nancy M. said...

I had never heard that about cancer cells either. I am so glad you still have a sense of humor about you! Thank the Lord you didn't light up like a Christmas tree, lol! I'm happy you can see the light now!

Kay @ The Rustic Cottage said...

Sounds like you were put through the wringer! The good news about your PET scan is fabulous - Praise God!! I'm still praying and so glad that you're doing so good.

Penny @ Miss Pootsie's Primitives said...

Hi Sweet Cora. My gosh amaze me. Even in the midst of the mess you CRACK ME UP... "pajama man"... LOL!
Praise God for the great PET scan results. Praise His Holy Name!
I'm still praying too!