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