Saturday, 27 May 2017

View from the bra: my bone scan

My bone scan took place on 28 April 2017 in the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.  I was, in a bizarre sort of a way, looking forward to it.  Why?  Because I didn't have to go without food before my appointment.  Ah, such sweet relief!

Going nuclear

Arriving at the Centre, I followed the signs to 'Nuclear Medicine'.  Those words sounded absolutely terrifying yet weirdly sexy at the same time. 

The first thing they had to do was to inject me with a small amount of a radioactive substance called a tracer.  This would help identify any areas of cancer in my bones where too much or too little tracer had been absorbed.  

The nurse couldn't find a decent vein and at last when she did she said, 'Oh dear, your vein seems to have burst.  I'll need to find another one.'  Marvellous(!)  At this stage I was starting to look and feel like a dartboard.  Eventually she managed to inject the tracer, and then I was allowed to leave for a couple of hours so my bones could absorb it. 

The scan

You'll be pleased (or disappointed?) to know there was no swearing out loud during any part of the scan.  

I was able to stay fully dressed.  I lay down on the x-ray couch in the scanning room, below this massive shipping container type contraption.  It looked like an enormous George Foreman grill for humans.  I kid you not.  The radiographer tied my feet together and wrapped something round my arms to help stop me from moving.  I felt like the proverbial egyptian mummy.

At this point my heart rate was starting to rocket and when they lowered the massive gamma camera to literally within a few centimetres of my face, I really felt like I was about to panic.  I had to close my eyes and call on some breathing techniques to help calm me down.  Once the camera moved beyond my head, I started to relax and then when I next looked up it was at my feet and the scan was over.  It took about 30 minutes in total and was totally painless and disappointingly free of bad language.

Radioactive wee

I was slightly radioactive after the scan so I had to use the private nuclear toilet in the hospital.  It even had the skull and cross bones logo on the waste pipe of the sink.  I was tempted to take a picture of it for posterity (OK, for Twitter really) but I thought that was a bit sad.  

The hospital advised me that for the next 24 hours I had to drink a lot (of water not alcohol, you naughty people), flush the toilet twice and wipe up any accidental splashes of my urine.  Me and my husband joked about me having glow-in-the-dark wee and so when I got up in the middle of the night to go to the loo I couldn't resist and I actually LOOKED into the toilet bowl to see if it glowed.  And you never guess what?  It didn't.  

Aw, I was quite disappointed - glowing wee would have been awesome.

Next time...

I'll tell you about going in for surgery.  Don't worry, it won't be gory.


If you've enjoyed this blog, please feel free to follow me on Twitter: @luvvacurry

Please also consider donating money to my step-daughter, Fiona Dougan, who is running a half marathon in September 2017 to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

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