CT scans suck

CT scanning machine

Well I arrived late at the hospital again yesterday because I forgot my doctor’s note at home. I got my bottle of gross water and proceeded to the cafe to drink it. It was awful. We’ve all had to do it, but I don’t know if other countries flavour is as bad as mine? What does yours taste of? A whole litre of aniseed powdery water. Two glasses straight away then one every fifteen minutes. It’s meant to go in via the mouth so it will light up your intestine. I have to say I really struggled. I was gagging all over the place which in turn made me feel really ill.
There were a few others waiting there. This lady told me how her son in law died six months ago from melanoma. Said it all started a year ago by a mole from his back and after they removed it and he had a bone scan and he got told he was ok, he never went back to the doctor. He then got metastasis in his armpit, a very very large lump and after that he just gave up the fight. Said he still went in the sun wasn’t careful and that was that. Sad story.
I didn’t go in to scanning room till about 1130. After the warm pissy feeling was over I was done and someone came in and said, we need to give you an ultra sound. I crapped myself. So did my mum and sister. So off I went to this dark room again with the same doctor who had done my boobs a few months ago and he gave me a neck scan. I watched as he went over something which to me looked scary and I thought that was it. I was done for. But he finished and said all is clear. What a sigh of relief. No sooner had I got off the table then when he got me back on it to check my womb. He said my cervix looks enlarged and that I need to go and see the lady bits doctor. Great I thought. More invasive tests I can’t wait.
So I walked out of the room and my mum, sister and that lady where waiting for me holding their breath. I said ALL CLEAR.. my poor mum must have aged 10 years whilst I was in that ultra sound room. The was a huge waiting list outside you see and the doctor told them all to wait cause he had to check me.
I didn’t leave till 12:20! A long day at a hospital that made me feel drained and rough.
I came home and waited with anticipation to go and see my gynecologist.. NOT. He did my c-section though so I figured he’s seen it all before but no matter how many times you go it really doesn’t get any easier and unless you are a woman you can’t possibly understand how awful it is. The good news is that he said that all appears to be normal but I won’t get my results till Friday next week.
So as far as everyone is concerned I appear to be normal. haha (if only they knew) Official results for CT on Monday and other test Friday.
Today I have a stupid cold and slight chest infection. I feel hung-over even though I had nothing to drink. It’s the weekend though so that good. Going out with my husband tonight to cheer myself up.
I miss having a job even though with everything that is going on and all the tests I’ve needed I would have been away a lot, its hard trying to find a job in my current situation and I feel very upset that I got fired whilst they all knew I have malignant melanoma to deal with too. But at least I can hold my head high. Ihave applied for a few jobs and still waiting to hear about the other one I went for a few weeks ago as position doesnt open for a while so fingers crossed for that.

I hope you are all having a nice weekend. 🙂

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Countdown

Time has passed already and I may very well be having the surgery on Saturday morning!  Some people will be nursing a hangover, others will be getting ready for work, others to go to the beach and we’d normally have a play in bed with our son jumping on us in turn and dribbling everywhere.

Instead I will be arriving at the clinic and having my blood pressure checked and my heart rate monitored whilst I change into something more comfortable.  I do hate hospital gowns. They are silly. They cover your whole front and never your arse.  I suppose its for easier removal.  We always laugh when we see the typical movie when the cute man is running with a hospital gown on showing his nice firm bum but I don’t quite picture the same effect if I was to run down the corridor with my bum on show.  However, there’s not much chance of that happening. I have been saving my big pants! ha That’s right, my big pants. I’m not talking granny knickers here ladies, but nice girlie boxers and non lacy knickers.  Its important to be as comfortable as possible and I just didn’t fancy my arse popping out of anywhere to anyone!! So I recommend no thongs no lacy stuff as hospitals are not the place for all that!   You can still look your best with a nice pair of pyjamas and big knickers.  I wont be needing any bra’s though. I hate floppy boobs.  But in my case I don’t have a choice.  Floppy boobs and one that will get extra viewing by a few doctors.

I’m so embarrassed about the whole thing. Sure my doctors have seen thousands of naked women and boobs but that never seems to make ME feel any better!  Last time on the operating table I made sure they kept me covered till I was asleep.  Any nice surgeon will understand if you feel the same way.

The doctors said I was the most nervous person they’d ever seen on a table.  Thats quite bad really, considering the amount of surgeries they have done.  I remember saying to them as the anaesthisia was taking over to please look after me as I was pretrified.    However, this time I’ve got my Bach flower remedy and I hope it will assist my nerves.

I think I was the same when I was being rolled down for my C section.   Those of you who have had surgeries will notice that their rooms are bloody freezing. And their tables are so small. But I suppose they need them like that so they can get as close to you as possible.  Never mind if one of your butt cheeks is hanging off the edge.  Having a C section was the most embarrassing doctor patient situation I’ve ever had to experience.. I think only a natural birth will top that for me!

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I am absolutely terrified.  However I know I’ll be ok cause I was last time too.

So don’t worry, as you are going down on the rolley polley bed or a wheel chair which ever way they transfer you to the theater,  remember before you know it you’ll be fast asleep and when you wake up it will all be over and you can focus on getting better and hope your bottom doesn’t fall off the bed instead. 🙂

Results

This day started like all the rest, I woke up and wished I could just roll over and go back to sleep, but as soon as my eyes closed they shot wide open as I realized today’s the day I get my results.  I got my darling son ready in a haze with help from my mum who arrived shortly afterward for moral support.

I drove to the hospital feeling more and more nervous by the minute.  I thought I’m not going to look at the results, I will wait till after I have dropped off my son in case I have a breakdown in the car and then cant face the nursery!   The CT scan man a funny Cypriot named George that doesn’t like tattoos or nose studs (whoops) walked me to collect them.  An old friend asked how I was on the way. I said I was fine.  George looked at me and I said, I am fine.. am I fine? They all wished me luck.

As I walked to the car my mum gets out and runs off to the loo and instructs me not to look at them till she returned!  I don’t.  But when she gets back I said Ill look at the nursery.   I don’t.   You know I was terrified of what was in the envelope.    However as we were driving up to get petrol I decided to look.  Here is what it said:  Brain normal, (ok so I am a little crazy) neck normal, (a little long perhaps) abdomen normal (a bit on the fatty side), armpit not normal. Well that was in my language.  I was immediately so relieved. I mean its very strange how I can be relieved knowing I still have cancer. But cancer is an evil evil thing so the less you have of it the easier it is to beat.  My mum and I were just like whoop whoop.  I think people in the petrol station must have thought we were a little over joyed over petrol.. lol

For those of you who are reading cause you are doing your own research on Melanoma her is what the CT scan results stated:

Neck: No lymph nodes, all soft tissue structure appears normal, no changes in comparison with scan in October 09

Brain: Without pathology, normal postcontrast enhancement

Right Axilla (aka armpit): hyperdense solid tissue and oval lymph nodes (diameter about 1.00cm) appear. No presence in previous CT scan in Oct 09. Image is very suspicious from metastatic involvement.

Abdomen & Pelvis:  No lymph nodes, no secondary’s. All organs appear normal

C: Right axillery area lymphadenopathy is very suspicious from recurrence of disease.

After we got to the Limassol hospital and went through the massive maze that that place is, found the oncologist, then went and got a ticket to sign in (366!), then came back to the oncologist, my hubby joined us from work.   Dr Malas,  gave me the once over again which involved taking off my garments and staying in my undergarments whilst he has a close look at all my moles and rubs my neck and shoulders (I love that part).  (note to self everyone wear nice undergarments lol).  He then said that I do indeed have cancer in my lymph nodes and that I will need surgery as soon as possible to have them all removed.  This is no easy procedure and requires an excellent surgeon!  He also said I will require some therapy called interferon three times a week which is an immune therapy drug.  This wont result in any hair loss or boob loss as I asked him and I also asked about fertility to which he laughed and said “how many kids do you want!”  (I only have one!)

So on Monday I have to call him at 11:00am and he will study my file until then, speak to a few surgeons and suggest a few things.  After that its my decision who I have to do the surgery and where, and once I have had the surgery he will then decide on what therapy to give me.. (chocolate and vodka therapy please) meanwhile shopping therapy helped a lot as my lovely hubby says here’s my card, go treat yourself.. so I did.. its amazing how much better you can feel after a few dresses.. (Limassol Mall ladies.. go check it out; great for in between hospital visits and after hospital visits I found)

So all in all if you can get good bad news this is it. Bad news that’s good news cause I have treatable cancer.  I can fight this and I can beat this and I will get my happy ever after.

A better day

Bone Scan Results Image

Today, I got up at oh my god its early at 6:45am! I haven’t done that in a while, but as mentioned in yesterdays post I got to lie in till 10:30 so I shouldn’t complain.  Had to set off to Limassol for a bone scan appointment at 9:15.  I couldn’t eat anything as I had to have blood tests first, which normally I would do on a separate day, but as I have to have them in time for tomorrows CT scan and I couldn’t have them after the bone scan I had to prepare today instead.  My mum arrived shortly after along with my sister whilst I was upstairs changing the stinkiest nappy ever.  I keep saying that each time as I am sure they get stinkier!

My sister and I set off to Limassol and once we got there and finally found a parking space it was a mad rush as someone had broken in to the hospital outpatients and robbed their tills.  Lucky for me, not having a clue where I am I asked a woman where to sign in and she did it all for me.    Had my blood tests and then off I went for the bone scan.

They inject you with some highly radioactive stuff (even the injection had a silver metal thing around the tube for protection) and they said I had to drink as much water as possible, pee as much as possible to flush it out and stay away from pregnant women, babies and don’t sit too close to anyone for 24 hours! I cant even share my bed with my husband.. sigh.. lol  And I had to wait 3 hours before the scan could actually take place.  It takes that long for the stuff to work.

Meanwhile, I scoffed down a large sandwich and my first bottle of water, and then we went to look for the Limassol mall which took us a stupid amount of time as we couldn’t find the place, with me as the main entertainment as every time I lifted up my arm to get some aircon to cool myself it smelt like five fisherman’s wives hairy pits that had gone unwashed for days! ha  this to you may be too much info and rather gross, but how do you think I feel when I am the one that has it.  But wearing a plastic gauze under ones armpit in the hot Cypriot sun wont do anyone any favours, no matter how many times you wash around it, and put deodorant on.  I cant wait to take out my stitches.. or stitch as the case my be and neither can the rest of my family..

We had some nice lunch (yes after I scoffed a large sandwich) once we situated ourselves in the middle of an empty restaurant away from where I hoped no one would sit next to us and by the time we finished it was time to go back for my 130 scan!!  A quick pee stop and off we went.

I got my general blood results which show that I am healthy but slightly dehydrated and then went to the special bone scan clinic.  Still waiting for the white blood cell ones though.

The process from here is to sit in a room separated from everyone else, and then go into another room that has this massive scary looking machine in it, with a desk behind some glass (for the staff protection) .  They then ask you to remove any metal jewelery and lie on a bed that is barely wide enough for a stick insect and add arm rests to it.  (you don’t have to take off your clothes either! Bonus) Then this bed goes high up and the scanner thingy comes above your head by inches.  I didn’t like that part I felt a little claustrophobic but the very nice nurse Andri said the closer it is, the better the picture.  Then you aren’t allowed to move or talk for at least 10 mins. Let this be a record for me! ha  It soon passes and the bed starts to move from under it slowly slowly and there is a screen to your right which you can turn to look at after its moved from your head and you can see how much time you have left and which part of your body is being scanned.

During the process this lovely girl came to me and said, I can see your scan, and you are fine. “what do you mean I am fine?” I ask! She said “your bones  are fine and I will confirm this when we are finished and I will also check your soft cells too”.  Well I couldn’t believe my ears and as hard as I tried not to, I cried, I was so relieved I cried.   She then went on to tell me that my soft cells are fine too!

Indeed after the scan, she showed me the computer picture of my skeleton which was freaky and apart from a full bladder there were no signs of any cancer! Whopeeee!   This means that battle no 1 is over and I have won it!

Apart from not being able to cuddle my son or go near him the whole process was painless but time consuming but I found the Limassol General hospital very nice and helpful.

The oncologist saw me and said that I am to return to Limassol as soon as I have my CT scans ready.

When I returned home I went to have my stitch out.  Big massive ouch!  But I thought who cares, I can have a shower, but to my disbelief the surgeon replaced the old gauze with some white spray and a new gauze which I cant take off for TWO more days!  So smelly armpit will be with me a little longer.. sigh..

So although I started my day with a really really stinky nappy it finishes rather better! (even with a stinky armpit) Wouldn’t you agree!! 🙂