Thursday 24th May 2007, At last the day has arrived for my CT scan.
This test should tell me if cancer has spread and to determine the size of the tumour as the ultra sound and mammogram only showed calcifications. I will be glad to get this bit over with so that I know the extent of things; it's frightening to think that there might be more cancer than I know of already. I was so nervous, what did a CT scan entail? Was it one of those scans that you’re completely covered, what if I get closterphobic? Here I go again, mind going into overdrive and creating questions. Get a grip girl it's only a scan and let's face it, after this I can start getting on with evacuating these bloody squatters that I have inside of me.
I had booked the day off work and because Lee is self employed we had asked Maureen if she would come along to the hospital with me so that Lee didn't have to lose out on a day’s work. We arrived at the hospital and were greeted at the reception desk by a big woman wearing a big white vest and a pair of black leggings, "Good Afternoon" she said, "now I'm going to give you a drink that you will have 50 minutes to drink. Would you like orange, grape or aniseed?" I opted for aniseed thinking it would taste like ouzo, not that I’m an alcoholic mind. A few minutes later the receptionist arrived with an enormous jug and a smile on her face just as big. "Make sure you drink it all" she laughed. Maureen set off giggling and reached for a magazine.
I thought wrong about it tasting like ouzo, in fact the only way I can describe it is being absolutely awful. It was one of them tastes that isn't so bad at first but leaves a very nasty aftertaste. As I started drinking it and pulling a face after every mouth full, Maureen laughing at me piped up as she pointed to an article in the magazine that she was holding!
"Now that's got to be inspiration for you”. There inside the magazine was a picture that filled the full page of Kylie Minogue promoting her new perfume. "Wow! She did look good; her hair was short, she really did suit it, she looked a picture of health and if people weren't aware that she had undergone treatment for breast cancer you wouldn't have given it a second thought. She looked absolutely amazing. This picture made me smile and at ease about what may lie ahead for me. "If she can do it and come out looking that good, then so can I. After all I might get away with just a bit of surgery and radiotherapy. Fingers crossed hey?
After being sat there for nearly the full 50 minutes and feeling very bloated from all of the liquid that I had been drinking, my name was called. My stomach doing the usual summersaults again I turned round to see the radiographer stood there. I quickly grabbed my jug to pour the last of my ouzo into my glass to try and gulp it down as quickly as possible as I stood up to follow him. Instantly liking him I followed him through to the room where they were to do the scan. He had let me off with the last of my wonderfully tasteful drink.
As I followed him down the corridor it got colder and colder, I was dressed in a pair of tracksuit bottoms and a vest. My tracksuit top I had left in the waiting area as I was told that no metal objects were allowed in the scan room and it contained a metal zip. The radiographer told me that they had to keep it nice and cool, as the CT scan got very hot.
We arrived at some double doors and we slowly entered. In the middle of the floor was a machine that resembled a giant donut with a long trolley bed going through the middle of it. I was told to lie on the bed and while holding on to the little guardian angel that Lauren had sent me as tight as I could, I climbed up onto it and laid myself down as comfortably as the trolley bed would allow.
The radiographer pulled a trolley up close to where I lay, that had all sorts of gadgets on it, and was piled up the sides with little draws and compartments. I was shivering through a combination of the cold and nerves. Pressing and prodding my hand the radiographer told me he was going to find my bestest vein to put a cannula needle into. What! I wasn’t told anything about any needle going to be stuck into me.“Sharp scratch” he said. Ouch it felt more like an arm amputation. I could feel the needle wriggling deep into my vein and felt like my whole hand was going to explode. A spirally tube that hung on a big arm above me was attached to the cannula in the back of my hand, and I had to raise both my arms above my head. Carefully and slowly I raised my arms as told, making sure that I didn't snag or bend the needle that was now protruding profusely out of my arm. The radiographer explained to me that the bed would pass through the donut several times and that they would talk to me through a speaker from the adjoining room. With that, he gone, leaving me there alone in a very cold room strapped to a great big scary donut.
The trolley bed moved all the way through the donut and on returning a voice from the speaker told me to take a deep breath in and hold it. This was repeated another 2 times and then the radiographer came back into the room. He had come back into the room to inject a dye from the spirally tube into my arm through the cannula needle, and explained that I would get a warm sensation run through my body and down below. I was a bit nervous because I thought this warm sensation was going to burn and I had no idea what he meant when he said down below. You know what doctors are like; they tell you that something is painless and when it comes to it, it hurts like hell. I started to feel a nice warm feeling run through my body and then; 'No! No I can't have done' I thought, and then started to blush. The feeling of warmth reached down to between my legs. Is this the feeling what he was talking about or was I actually doing it? I felt like I was actually peeing myself. 'Oh come on! You know what I'm talking about all of you out there who have had one of these scans. It's a really weird sensation isn't it? The man must have seen me blushing, and starting to laugh "that's a normal feeling" he said, as he walked out of the room again telling me to keep lying still.
I was passed through the big donut several more times. Holding breath, Breath normal... How the heck they expect you to breath normal is beyond me when your that much out of puff from not getting the air into your lungs from holding your breath too long is way beyond me. The machine made a very weird buzzing and clicking noise. Why is it that when you're told to lay very still your nose always starts to itch. Well! This itch developed into a proper muscle spasm face twitch. Holding breath, Breath Normal, Nose irritating itch getting way out of control and having to concentrate now on keeping my arm from moving, raising up and giving my damn nose a right good old scratching... Ooh yeah, got to concentrate on the Holding Breath and Breath normal palarva.
After a few more minutes the man came back into the room, disconnected me from the tube, took the needle out of my hand and told me I was free to go. I was so relieved and immediately gave my nose a really good scratching. As I sat up to get off the couch I obviously and very discretely looked down between my legs just to make sure that there was no wet patch and I hadn't peed myself. And if you're wondering! No I hadn't.
There was nothing to it, having this scan, but I was hoping that there would have been some kind of monitor in there somewhere , so that I could have seen what they were seeing. As if I would have known what I was looking at anyway. Leave it to the experts hey?
I walked back into the waiting area with a big pleased smile on my face. Maureen was still sat with her nose stuck deep into her magazine. "Are you ready?" I asked her. She looked up, smiled and amazed said "Is that it? Are you done?" "Yup" I said as we both leisurely walked out of the hospital, both smiling from ear to ear.
Today wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. And I now realise that there is no point on dwelling on something that you know absolutely nothing about. They say to take each day at a time well I am going to , and I'm also going to take each hurdle as it comes. From this day forward I am not going to dwell and I'm not going to worry. What is the point in worrying when you don't even know if there is anything to worry about? I felt happier today. Earlier I said that I felt like I was in a bad dream. Well I'm not. This is reality, I have breast cancer and I am not going to lie down and let it take over me. I am in charge here not the cancer. This is my body and I will do everything I can to protect it.
Only 5 more days now until I know what is what, and what the course of action will be, to get rid of these bloody squatters