'Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.' ~Author Unknown
Although it was my intention to continue with 'Why I am Where I am' I have decided to deviate. Dr Andre Van Der Westhuizen (Medical Oncologist) endeared himself to me at the time of our initial consultation, as you know. There was a sense of relief when he referred me for CT Scan and Bone Scan. As a new treating practitioner, I appreciated that he wished to have a clear picture of my condition. Having been on Femara (Aromatase Inhibitor) for 14 months, it is important to check bone density; the scan will also show if the cancer has spread to the bones. More importantly, I believe these test results will give some indication, and reason for, the increasing size of the lump on the clavicle. As there are new lumps below, the results will, hopefully, prevent any further speculation on my part. Dr Van indicated he has not seen anything like this previously and stated that my case is most unusual ~ a 'double edged sword?'
When Dr Van mentioned that he would telephone me with the results I apparently gave him a 'look' as he quickly corrected himself saying 'Not a good idea!' We discussed the way in which news could be delivered and he then suggested I make an appointment to see him. My appointment was made for 9 February. Prior to the tests being carried out I received a letter from Dr Van's secretary stating that my appointment had been changed to 24 February. As you know, waiting can be difficult! A month just too long for me to wait. Beth at Calling the Shots has done a 'must read' post,'Reduce Your Wait for Medical Results.' As is often the case, there is a 'synchronicity' among bloggers. I decided to approach the reception desk to ask about having Dr Van telephone me with the results as soon as he has them. I suspect that being a large 'public' hospital I am just another number and I know the clinic sees around 200 patients each day it is very easy to get 'lost in the system.' By Friday, I will be making my first 'follow up' telephone call.
As many of you know both tests were carried out yesterday; I was a bit of a wreck when I arrived home, not only as a result of the testing but due in part to the hot weather. It was 40 degrees Celsius (approximately 104 Fahrenheit.) Tests have not presented any real problem in the past and, although it is a long day, it is normally a 'breeze' for me. We left the farm at 7.30am, arriving at the hospital at 8.45am in time to drink the required 1.25 litres of water in readiness for the CT Scan. The technicians were fabulous; no difficulty accommodating me and the fact that I am no longer able to raise my right arm above my head. There is always some concern with the use of contrast as I have been known to collapse as a result of eating shellfish. Fortunately the staff were prepared for any emergency!
10am and I was ready for the Bone Scan. The cannula had been flushed and remained in place ready for the injection of isotopes. Found a comfortable seat in the coffee shop, sun streaming in through the glass windows, where I ordered a cup of coffee and a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich. After a two hour wait it was time for the next stage. As my legs and arms were strapped into position I began to feel agitated knowing that my right arm, being a lymphoedema limb, is prone to after affects should the strap be too tight. I asked them to loosen it slightly. Unfortunately, I was not told the assistant had left the room and the procedure had commenced. I immediately became aware that I had no control over my right arm. My fingers began to curl, my level of concern increasing as my arm and fingers began to twitch uncontrollably. In no time the assistant was beside me to tell me my arm had slipped stopping the camera, hence the machine. I apologised, explaining that I had absolutely no control. She suggested that I 'hold on' until the machine had passed my hips and she would then be able to release my arms allowing me to cross them over my chest. I think I used every muscle in my upper body in my endeavour to hold that arm close to my body. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life. There were tears in my eyes as I tried to think of more enjoyable times. I was feeling the frustration at every level!
Fortunately, another technician recognised my dilemma as she observed from behind the lead glass and suggested it could be done differently. For stage two in which the machine was to go around my body, I was placed in a wide band similar to a 'straight jacket.' It wrapped around my body and arms from the wrist to the shoulders. Even with the security provided from this band, my arm and hands refused to obey instructions leaving me fully aware of the deterioration. I had no idea what my right hand was doing but it moved constantly and my arm was at odds with my mental instructions; it was out of control Keeping it still, and by my side, was an impossible task. I was feeling like a wimp and under no illusion as to why activities have become so much more difficult for me. I honestly felt as if I did not want another scan. Ever!
Do you breeze through your scans, or do you sometimes feel you have 'had enough' of them?