Metastatic Breast Cancer Scans

I have been called to share more about my journey on my blog. A few weeks ago I shared what a cancerversary is and why I celebrate mine. Today I am sharing a recap of my day spent undergoing a full body scan of bone and soft tissue at UC Health. I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in February of 2018. My life and my treatment drastically changed at this point. There is currently no cure for MBC so regular monitoring is a big part of the fight. I now get scanned every 6 months but it used to be every 3 or 4 months.

I took notes as I was going through the scans today. Sometimes this part is the stressful part. One room to the next. Today was chill and I was documenting peacefully and I am grateful for that. Sometimes the anxiety that some call scanxiety is present but not really this time.

Here is the recap:

11 ish – Checking in.

I notice my body getting racy – not a feeling in my chest like my normal anxiety. This one feels different. I’m thinking of the needle poke at this point. That’s the hardest part.

I feel it as anxiety. I’m not anxious of the results but I think more of the process. I just asked if they had me in with the ultrasound guided IV instead of the normal because I don’t feel like being poked a lot.

The front desk employee tells me there is a note. And then confirms I do not have a port. He likely knows the answer because I wouldn’t ask for ultrasound if I had a port.

Now I wait for him to tell me I’m good before I sit down and wait until they call me back. Instead he takes me right back to the nurses to insert the IV. This is smooth so far I think.

11:10 ish – I sit in the chair. First poke with the ultrasound – success. Good thing I arrived when I did. Someone came to borrow the ultrasound machine.

11:20 ish – The nurse now calls nuclear medicine (they inject an isotope mixed with saline that shows activity on my bones) and they pop over within a few minutes for injection.

11:25 ish – Now I sit down and get called back for CT right away. I’ve already set my alarm for two hours (that’s how long the isotope sits). I also just found out there’s no more drink for CT. So all I had to do was wait about ten more minutes with the IV in my arm during the CT scan. It’s removed before I know it and I’m thinking of tacos. I finish and go ask Cody if he also wants tacos around 11:45.

Taco vibes

I came in today to have a CT scan and nuclear medicine (nuc med) bone scan. It has been six months and 12 days since my last scan and I’ve had about five in the last two years. The process takes about three hours total. I have been getting these scans since we found out my cancer metastasized. It’s been an interesting two years and I’m learning lots but today I feel like this hospital has it together.

The injection was smooth. The CT scan was quick. And then I was onto my favorite taco place near the hospital. I would guess we’ve been here at least ten times over the course of the past year and it’s a good spot. I get a bean tostada with avocado and then I got a side of rice and beans also since I haven’t eaten yet. Cody got three tacos and he’s happy. We comment on the decor and we are headed back to UC.

This always helps…

12:30 ish – Chugging water to flush my system and then I’ll be off to get my nuclear med scan. I sit in the sun for about 30 minutes before my alarm goes off to remind me it’s time to head back. The nuc med injection requires a wait time of two hours from time of injection to scan. I feel calm. I feel grateful for a smooth experience. So I’m going back. Cody moves over to the correct waiting room and I’m back in nuc med. I can’t remember how long this one takes but I’ll find out soon enough. They might let me record the scan here. The first technician for the CT did not want to be featured in my personal cancer documentary aka mypaigeoftheworld. The second technician let me record so here is a time laps of the bone scan process. I was in there for about 50 minutes. The part where the machine was right in front of my face made me claustrophobic and a bit anxious. Overall a good day.

The tech for the bone scan was very nice.
When I’m antsy during a scan I ask questions. Why not learn while I’m trapped?

I left the hospital around 2:10 to go walk a cute Pug named Kimchi.

I still have my mala on and my crystal near by. I’m still feeling good at this point. This is one of the first times I’ve not felt totally stressed during a scan.

I stayed calm the entire time today. Everyone was nice and welcoming. I enjoyed the majority of the day.

Sometimes you will get results instantly other times you might wait days. I find out tomorrow at 9am so I wait just under 24 hours and that is not too bad.

I ended my day with a yoga class and then some relaxation time including a bath and tea while watching Schitt’s Creek for the fifth time.

Samadhi Yoga before Flow + Restore this evening