Another PET/CT Scan and Appointment … Light at the end of the Tunnel
I have been secluded in a private room at University Medical Imaging in Tucson. The nurse has tested my blood sugar to make sure it’s in the appropriate range for me to go through with my scheduled PET/CT scan today. I’m resting for a period of sixty minutes while the radioactive glucose I was just injected with, and the contrast I drank, has time to circulate throughout my body, before going down to the scanning room. The PET/CT scan stands for – positron emission tomography (PET) and computerized tomography (CT). They are both state-of-the-art imaging tools that allow physicians to pinpoint the location of cancer within the body, and is considered to be the best that technology has to offer today.
As I lay back in the comfortable recliner covered with warm blankets in the darkened room, I close my eyes and begin to relax. I listen to the rainfall outside as it beats hard against the window pane. To me, the sound of falling rain has to be one of the sweetest sounds in this world. As I drift in and out of a light sleep, I hear people talking but can’t make out what they are saying. I drift off somewhere again. Then I hear the scanner fire up down the hallway and I know I have about 35 to 40 minutes before I’ll be called to be scanned. The next thing I know, the door opens and the technician is ready for me. I shake off the sleep and walk down to the scanning room, climb up and lay flat on the table that moves by increments through the scanner. This is my sixth PET/CT in the last two years …
I don’t know what to expect with the visit today with my oncologist. I’m not sure that the results of the Scans will even have been evaluated as yet. I try not to think about the “what if” or anything negative. I just focus on the present. I’m not feeling necessarily depressed or anxious.
After my blood draw at the lab, I’m paged to the area where my Doctors have their offices. After the tech took my vitals and a short wait in the patients’ room, Dr J knocks and enters. After we exchange pleasantries, she sat down and said she had good news for us. The PET/CT showed no cancer; no Merkel cell. The chemotherapy treatments have been successful! The organs and areas of tissue that were previously being invaded and destroyed five months ago, have responded. I was elated. I could hardly believe my ears. I was officially in remission. I looked at my wife and could see her eyes light up.
The downside to all of this … the Doctor wants me to complete two more cycles of the chemo, making sure the Merkel cell will stay away for the
longest time possible. The decision was left completely up to me. She said she would understand if I’d had enough. If you read my previous entries in this blog about the side effects I’ve experienced, you can tell I have had enough. But, there are some reasons that it took me less than thirty seconds to say that I would go forward with the treatments. In researching MCC over these past two years, when I was first diagnosed, I learned that one of its properties is that it will return again, even though it’s been treated and eliminated. Also, the PET/CT scan is the best prevention in today’s technology. But, it’s possible that infinitesimal amounts of leftover cancer can be undetectable in the body. I’ve had eighteen infusions so far, what’s six more? I was able to begin the next round today. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel …