Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Regarding PET Scans

Hello everyone. I've been away for a little while.  Busy, but not; exhausted, but energetic.  I was actually just taking some selfish "me" time by going on an amazing cruise! I went to St Thomas and St. Maarten Islands, which I recommend, and since my return, I have been working and napping and playing with my dogs, and so on.

I went in and had a PET Scan on Friday.  I've had some issues with lymph nodes in my arm where the cancer was, and it is painful. My shoulder gives me a fit occasionally, but this was different, so the doc is investigating.  Safety - I prefer that.  As a TN, I'm keeping my fingers crossed because June will be that three year critical point I need to reach being NED.  I believe I remain cancer free and so I hope to hear that from the doctor today.

Regarding PET Scans, I thought I may be able to re-share/refresh the information on them.  What they can do.  PET Scans provide critical information to help physicians locate and determine size of a cancer, distinguish benign from malignant, determine aggression or invasion (has the cancer spread?), type of treatment, and follow up / recurrences.

Some one million new cancers will be diagnosed in 2012 - this includes most cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 570,000 Americans are expected to die of cancer this year, more than 1,560 people per day.  Through the use of the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) imaging, doctors can detect and evaluate the extent of cancer.

So now that you know what it CAN do, just how is it done? I will do my best to explain in words I understand it to be. If I am wrong, please feel free to correct me as I want everyone to have the best information.

Well, it can be time consuming, but it really isn't a difficult test. Upon arrival at the imaging center or hospital, you will have an injection that contains minute radioactive glucose particles designed to "make the cancer glow" if you will. For some reason, the cancer is attracted to the sugary substance of it.  The hardest part of the test comes in two parts.  The first part is in remaining very still and quiet. You know how it is, as soon as you are requested not to move or don't have a free hand - your nose itches. Guaranteed every time, right? The second hardest part is the waiting on the results.  The specialists that review the tests know how important it is to get your results right the first time, so you can expect to wait three days.  And, if you are like me, five days as my test was on a Friday.  Patience is a plus.  Anyway, my therapy in waiting comes in my writing this for you and booking my next cruise to the western Caribbean with my son (yayness!).

If you can sit down and look at your results, good or bad, with your doctor, you get a fine opportunity to learn a little more about your body.  How cool is that?  Have an awesome week, and a very blessed Easter.


  1. Hello, I'm Dawn from Wisconsin, recently diagnosed Stage 4 with mets to my bones. I'm 54, mom of 5 adult children and 7 grandchildren. I found your blog thru reading other blogs. I see your currently ned...YESSS. I will pray it remains. I'm in hormone treatment--6 months now-both sets of scans so far show cancer diminishing. I have a ways to go. I'm also a believer and am trusting in God for many more years...but i admit--its very hard to be so positive.

  2. Hello Dawn. Six months in - you are doing great! I know that sometimes it can be difficult to remain positive, but the alternative, well, it sucks, right? Keep telling your mind and body that God is doing his job. Your job is to listen to your body and to help it heal by bring in positive and tossing out negative energy. There were days when I just didn't know how I made it through either, but trust me, you just keep on reaching for that NED, ok. Every single day we get is a blessing and that in itself is a positive. Rain or shine....we are here if only for today.

    I will be keeping you in my prayers and reaching out to you on your site. Take good care, we are all wishing you good karma.

  3. I hope your doing ok. I find out my scan results on tuesday. I pray my meds keep working and hold me stable. I'm more interested in being stable, than ned..ned is fickle and leaves to often. I loved your comments..I love your enthusiasm for life. I'm still working on getting that--finding it. I think it takes awhile to come out of the fog when we find out we have cancer..especially stage 4.

  4. Dawn, I believe you are right. That fog hangs on. The idea of having such a dreadful disease almost makes you feel like your body has betrayed you and it is hard to wrap around that not knowing what will happen next. You will definitely be in my prayers for stability and good health. Lifting your name up to God's ears, friend.

  5. Greetings from Australia. What a wonderful blog and what an inspiration you are. I found your blog after reading Dawns. I have been fighting skin cancers on an off and you are right it touches us all one way or another. We have to be there for one another because we never know what is around the corner. And yes, we have to live in the hear and now and live each day to the fullest!