My cancer saga started when I was diagnosed at 38 with Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I have a twisted sense of humor and have tried to continue that laughter and optimism on my journey...

Heavy PETting

Episode VII: Be Still


My pre-scan ordeal was really an ordeal! When it was time to leave for the PET scan, I realized that I can't catch a break here. My mom was in town to help pick up the kids from school while I had all these doctors and procedure appointments. I went out to leave and saw that my mom's car door was left open. It was 30 minutes until my appointment and 25 minutes until my daughter had to be picked up from school. Timing sucked. I had her check to make sure her battery wasn't dead before I left. There was no way I could just leave her if the battery had died. At this moment I realized I was probably going to be late.





Of course, the battery had died... so I started thinking about what to do about my daughter. School was getting out soon and there was no way my husband could make across town in time.  I tried calling local people to drive her home, no answers. Argh... we do live right at the 2 mile distance from school, so I had to drive mom there just in case she had to walk her back to the house. I was going to be late.

Once I dropped mom off at the school, I finally got hold of a friend who was able to pick them up and bring them home. One issue resolved. Now my stress level could drop... until I looked at the clock and realized the time (can you tell I hate being late).

I called my husband to ask him to call the office to say I might be late. His office internet was down... go figure! Of course he said he would try, but really! I drove fast which for me, a granny driver, was scary. I realized I was wrong and finally caught a break: no traffic in the construction area (miracle), hit all green lights (miracle), and arrived close to scheduled time (miracle); maybe 5 minutes late. Sweet!

I quickly walked and signed in at the desk. A very surprised receptionist said that she had literally just off the phone with my husband who said I was going to be late. Apparently when he couldn't get the internet or phone to work he searched for a phone book, called the wrong office which transferred him to the right office only a few minutes before I arrived.  Go figure!

I sat down and my heart was racing. I was glad they didn't check blood pressure at that time or they might have sent me to the hospital instead of getting the PET scan! I got maybe 5 minutes to calm down before they called me back.


My door had this awesome sign. Time to get radioactive...


Of course, to me the grossest part of the process was the IV. However, I have an IV phobia that stems from childhood trauma (multiple hospital visits and surgeries). So, I completely dislike them. Yet, I will say all blood work related procedures at the Cancer Institute had been done without pain or issue. The IV was put next to where blood was taken yesterday, so I was a bit bruised. They used clear tape - eewww. Thus, I avoided making eye contact with my left arm and the little IV nub that hung from my elbow area.


My icky little IV.


So, now I was required to BE STILL. And how often are we really still? With all of the kids activities, daily chores, and life it was weird to remain still. I think I hung out about 1 hour in my lazy-boy... where all that being still lead me to fall asleep. Really, I went to sleep.


Me right before taking a snooze-fest...


The technician came and got me... I mean woke me up after I had been there an hour. We walked down the hall to a room that had the PET machine. The slab that you lay on was narrow. I half-jokingly told the technician I was surprised they would not have to grease or butter me up to get in the tube. It was narrow, manageable but narrow. However, I am not claustrophobic and I am trying to really taking in the experience, so I thought the scan was kinda cool. I felt like I was on a mini-rocket ride.

At first, the table zipped back and forth to make sure that I was lined up properly. Then it slowly started from my head and worked its way down to my legs. The scan would rotate around an area for a good while and then the table would move slightly... and repeat. The overall scan was pretty open, but when it was working on my head I was completely enclosed. Of course, you cannot move at all during the scan so I remained still again for around 30 minutes. The only tiny issue I had was toward the end of the scan - I had one wild hair that pestered my left neck. All I wanted to do was deal with it, but couldn't. Note to self: next time, adjust hair prior to starting test.

Example of a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) machine


In my head...


I had looked up a lot about the scan prior and found it all to be pretty accurate. For me, it seemed like less time was needed and I did have a full body scan. I found that I did have the ability to be still... even if it caused me to fall sleep. Bonus! So, another thing down in my long list of to dos - check. I am glad that I would get a break from all the poking and prodding until Tuesday where the Cardiologist can do his thing!



"I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, 
for hope would be hope for the wrong thing;
 wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; 
there is yet faith, but the faith and love are all in the waiting. 
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought; 
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing."
- T.S. Eliot


Episode Reference - Be Still, The Fray song

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About Amy Brock

Amy Brock is a cancer fighter and survivor. Diagnosed with Infiltrating Breast Cancer at 38 she has gone through chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, hormone therapy, and other procedures since 2013. Post treatment she has been diagnosed with lymphedema, chemo-induced neuropathy and bone degeneration in her back, as well as other issues including dysphagia, bilateral hearing loss, and arthritis. From being completely healthy, to having a variety of issues, Amy began blogging about her experiences as a way to help others. Read more about finding humor in the craziness of cancer at her blog www.tatawarrior.com Amy is the mother of two children and has worked for various non-profit agencies. In addition, she is a fine artist creating works in multiple mediums which can be seen at www.amybrock.com

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