November 18, 2009
My mom and I left for CTCA at about 7 am on Monday morning. I barely slept the night before, which is pretty typical. Not because I am anxious or worried, but I guess I just know I have to wake up earlier than I usually do and my body doesn't quite unwind. Anyhow, we made really good time and we were able to check in early at our hotel before going over to the hospital. We checked in at about 12:30 or so and got to the hospital at about 1:20. I registered and then we headed to the port room. I am allergic to the medical tape, so I don't like have my port accessed for very long. On days that I have scans, they need to draw blood work first to check your kidney function, etc to make sure you are healthy enough for scans. Because of the tape issue, they just draw my blood from a vein. Otherwise, my port would be accessed all day and overnight until the next day. I usually have really bad veins... they like to hide when the needles come out! The tech was able to find one right away this time in my wrist, which was nice to only get one stick there. My blood work was taken and I headed downstairs for my scan prep.
My bone scan injection was first. She was able to find a spot in the same vein on my wrist, just slightly lower than where my blood was drawn from. She injected radioactive fluid that has to circulate for a couple of hours. That radio active stuff will absorb into areas of bone that they are concerned with. The less it is absorbed, the better. After that injection, we had some time to waste. I needed to drink the prep for my CT scan, and you can't eat an hour prior to the scan. The prep is mixed into a bottle of G2 Gatorade, which is much nicer than what I have had to drink at other hospitals. My CT scan started at about 3:10. I just have to lay on the skinny table that slides into the CT machine. You have to keep your arms above your head and hold your breath for like 10 second intervals. Then, they inject a dye into your IV and retake the pictures. During this scan, I can say that I really felt God's presence with me. It was almost overwhelming at one point and made tears come to my eyes. I just felt loved. When this scan was complete, the bone scan tech said she could take me early. So, I walked right next door and lay down on that table for about 30 minutes while it scanned my whole body. She was playing a Jack Johnson CD, which is one of my husband's favorite artists so we were able to talk about him during the scan. It's always nice when you are talked to. I am not usually too nervous about my scans, but I do find myself lying there and almost pleading with God for good results. This time, however, as I lay there, I realized the good results would only be for those who doubt what I know God has already achieved in my body. I believe in His healing and I know that I have experienced that. So no matter what the results, I would still profess the miracles in my life.
My scans were done at about 4 pm and so my mom and I went for an early dinner. We were both tired, so I think we were asleep by 8 pm! The next morning, we got up and headed back to the hospital. This time, I needed my port accessed. It needs to be accessed every 6 weeks just to be flushed anyhow, but I usually get a Zometa infusion for my bones and they use my port for this. From there I went over to my doctor's waiting room area. His nurse came out to get me before I even checked in. She said they were running ahead of schedule. Two days in a row?! Wow, that never happens. I had my vitals taken and headed back to see my doctor. He was busy copying my blood work and scan results from the reports into my file. He let me know that my CEA tumor marker had gone up from my last visit... from a 73 to a 128. I was not hoping for that! He wasn't concerned though, because he said I do tend to fluctuate quite a bit. Plus, I had just been sick and was on an antibiotic which can skew blood work results. It seems like my CT scans have always been the more clear of the two scans I get. My bone scan report states that the areas of metastatic disease (breast cancer spread to bone ) previously seen on scans is again seen, however, the degree of the radioactive tracer had decreased. There may have been an area of new tracer uptake in one area on my thoracic spine, near the middle of my back. The report does not state it is metastatic disease, only new tracer uptake.... but the rest has decreased which is good! Next, my CT scan report says that all of my organs look great. It says that the areas in my pelvis, hips, and femur (leg) all look different and the report says it "could be due to response to the treatment". Further, it says it "could be due to the healing process". When I relayed the info to my dad on the phone, he asked if they thought this was due to the Zometa or maybe just the chemo... I said " Or because people have been praying?!". He stood corrected! :-)
Overall, I am really pleased by these reports. It has only been 3 months since my last scans, and already the bones look to be healing. I don't have to go back to CTCA until about January 11. Yay for the break over the holidays!! I also did not have to have Zometa this time. My doctor is changing this regimen to every 3 months. My oral chemo regimen will stay the same. Because I was getting no IV Zometa, I went back up to the port room to have them de-access my port and then we were off! We started home just after noon central time and we made it home at 9 pm eastern.
Thank you so much for all of the prayers for this trip. Everything went smoothly. I am still going after this disease, as I am prepared to do for as long as it takes. If there is an area in your life that you feel like God is just not hearing your prayers, I would encourage you not to stop praying. Instead, I would tell you to go after it with more passion than you ever have. Especially when it comes to healing of sickness. Don't give up.
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