Thanks for all the great thoughts! The scan went fine yesterday, at least as far as I know. I won’t get results until next week sometime, so don’t stop the prayers and juju just yet.
I had actually forgotten much of the procedure for the PET/CT scan (I think mine was some kind of a combo deal), so I thought I’d write it down for others and for my own forgetful self for next year, since everything will be perfect and I won’t have to go back until Emmie is two (positive thinking!).
First, after check-in and what not, the tech took me to a room for the injection of the radioactive sugar. Last time, I was really struck by the little fortress of lead bricks (or something) where they keep the vials. This time, I spent all my energy trying NOT to think about the needle, since this was my first time getting stuck since I developed such a wonderful phobia after the daily injections of interferon. The fun part was that I remembered the tech from last year. He had twins who are just a little older than Emmie, so we talked about the joys of parenting one-year-olds. It was funny because last year, when Emmie was 2 weeks old, his babies were 3 months old, and I felt like they might as well have been 3 YEARS old, the difference between those types of babies is so huge. But now that they are all older, the differences have shrunk quite a bit.
As he injected the sugar, I got a funny taste/smell in my mouth, kind of like I did with the saline, but not exactly the same flavor. It wasn’t nearly as strong and since it was different, it didn’t have those same powerfully negative emotions connected to it. It was just interesting to me.
The part I completely forgot about is actually the best part. You have to let the sugar metabolize in your system so it can get everywhere to show any cancer (cancer metabolizes glucose WAY more than anything else, so cancer shows up nice and bright because it’s taking so much of the sugar. At least, so I understand). So to let it metabolize, you have to wait for 45 minutes to an hour. They don’t want you doing much, I guess so it doesn’t skew results, so they put me in a dark room in a super comfy recliner with a warmed blanket and I had a flat screen TV to watch trashy TV. Last time, they specifically told me to watch mindless stuff, because I guess if you even think too hard, your brain will metabolize more glucose in that region. In any case, I happily watched an episode or two of HGTV (we don’t have TV at home, so it was an extra-guilty pleasure) while reclined on a lovely chair.
Even the exam itself wasn’t bad. It’s in a tube, open at both ends, that is only about as long as from my feet to my chest, so it’s not even possible to have your whole body in at once. You lay on a narrow little platform and the platform moves through the tube depending on which part of the body they are scanning. Emmie has been sleeping terribly again, so I was actually grateful for the chance to rest a bit. I definitely fell asleep a couple times. It’s not very loud, unlike the MRI, which is nice.
For me, they did two sets, one of my trunk and legs and another of my head and chest. All together, the scans were probably about 45 minutes to an hour, and then I was done!
As with last time, I had to stay away from Emmie for a period of time (4-6 hours this time). Like last time, I chose not to go home, even though technically I could have been home on another floor. I’m really REALLY glad I chose to do this because Emmie was much more aware than last time of my presence and really wanted to be near me. I also couldn’t breastfeed for 18 hours, although I could pump the milk and freeze it.
Without a doubt, having to deny my baby was the hardest part of the scan this time. Soon after I got home, my mom was holding Emmie, put her down and Emmie squealed and started crawling toward me. Since I was just over 6 hours out from the injection, I wasn’t sure about holding her yet, and my mom scooped her up so Emmie couldn’t crawl into my lap. Emmie was devastated. Instantly, her face crumbled into her most serious of cries: open mouth, tongue out, eyes squeezed shut with tears. She couldn’t have her mama and didn’t know why. While it killed me, it also made me so grateful I hadn’t come home and tried to do that to my baby over and over for 6 hours 🙁
The other part that was SO hard was the nursing. During the day, Emmie could care less about milk of any variety. She likes to drink from cups, but that’s about it. But at night, she needs her mama (and her boobs). Even though Peter has put her down to sleep using a bottle before, it’s never when I’m home. So she kept waking up every 5 minutes or so, asking for her mama and some milk. Nothing else would do. I rocked her, and she would pull out her Soothie and try to nuzzle in, only to be denied by my shirt. Peter had left to go do errands, so unfortunately he couldn’t help. Eventually, I just laid on the floor next to her and she finally fell asleep, about 2 hours after we first put her down. She woke up more often than normal, and even after Peter gave her a bottle, she still cried for her mama (and milk). So sad.
We all seem to be recovered now, just in time for Emmie’s first birthday party tomorrow!