Back from the day’s joy at the hospital. I had my pre-admissions interview (no problems there), and then a PET scan and a CT scan.

Sweet jumping jesus on a steam-driven pogo stick.

Next time they offer to give me a perscription for Adavan as a “calming agent”, I’m fucking TAKING IT.

Let me ‘splain: Here’s the process for the PET. I get an IV, and then an injection of irradiated glucose. (Y’see, cancer cells are highly metabolic — more so than normal cells, so this stuff will go right to them) Then, they scan you, and can see if you have any cancerous cells anywhere else in your body.

All well and good.

However. Because I have melanoma, this needed to be a top-of-the-head to the bottom-of-the-feet scan.

No problem.


The aperture for the PET scan machine is roughly the same diameter as the width of my shoulders. And you lie down, and get stuck into that hole, and then sloooooooooowwwwwwwwwly inched out.

A hole where my shoulders were rubbing against the sides, my arms above my head, and when I breathed out, I could feel it bounce off the wall inches from my nose and back into my face. And, because I’m gigantofuckinghuge, they put me through this twice — once feet first, and once head-first, to make sure they had overlap.

The first scan was about 30 minutes. In the hole.

The second scan was almost 45. Holyshitholyshitholyshitholyshit.

Did I mention that I’m claustrophobic, and have been since childhood?

Yeah, not so much with the fun. Full-on panic attack, in fact….and one that I couldn’t do anything about, because I had to lay completely still, in that dark little hole, for over an hour.

This was followed up by a lovely barium milkshake, and a CT scan, which is like the PET, but merely a donut instead of a hole, and much, much faster.

As one attendant said to me: “Think of it this way — this is, in all likelihood, the hardest thing you’ll have to do during your treatment. When you come in for surgery, you’ll just be sleeping.”

A good way to think about it. But DAMN.

13 Replies to “Eeep.”

  1. All I have to say is HOLY FUCKKNUCKLES! I wasn’t claustrophobic until I had my open MRI, and that wasn’t anywhere near as bad, but it helps me imagine that, especially if you were already claustrophobic. Cripes! Glad that part’s over for you!


  2. It sounds like an absolute nightmare. I am so very sorry you had to go through that.

    Why is it that the stuff they do to you to figure out what’s wrong with you can be so much worse than what the do to fix it?

    I sincerely hope for you that this is the worst of what you will deal with, that you can breathe deeply because this is now behind you.

    And as you haven’t taken any Adavan, can you knock back a couple of shots, now that you’ve survived the experience?


  3. Aren’t those things the worst? I’ve had to do that before, and it was so traumatic! They are right, though, that is the toughest part (in my experience, anyway)

  4. Wait a minute, let me get this straight. First you get injected with radioactive sugar. Then you get treated to not one but TWO extended sessions in the dark, secure, womb-like comfort of the PET machine. You then get to drink a delicious barium milkshake (“Nothing says ‘yum’ like ‘barium'”), and you finish your visit with a ride through the CAT scan machine. And you expect sympathy? Dude, the radioactive sugar alone is worth a melignant melanoma!

    Seriously, I’m really glad today is over for you.

  5. OH. HOLY. SHIT.

    I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOO SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT THIS. Ask Tara, Kelly, Tom, or anyone that has known me for a bit…I am claustro and agoraphobic. I had an OPEN MRI, for fuck’s sake, and I still freaked out. My heart SOOOOOOOO goes out to you, babe. It really does. I am just now getting caught up and didn’t even know about this situation in the first place. My thoughts are with you, m’dear. :)


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