Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tests, Tests, And More Tests

I had three tests done today: MUGA Scan (heart test), Pulminary Function (lung test), and a PET scan. The worst part about the day was that I couldn't eat until all the tests were done!  I couldn't eat after 7:45 a.m. and the last test wasn't done until 3:30 p.m.  By the time I was done I was about ready to gnaw my own arm off!


The chemo I'll be on can damage my heart (slim chance, but still a chance).  The MUGA Scan tests my current heart strength and looks for abnormalities.  Read about it here.

First they stuck the IV into my arm (for the last time - port goes in tomorrow!).  I had this same IV in all day for my tests.  I have really tricky veins, so they had to poke around for awhile before the finally found it - not fun.
They inject me with a radioactive solution and let it sit for 20 minutes.  Then they took me back to have the scan done.  They injected me with more radioactive stuff, stuck heart monitors all over my body, and sent me through the machine.  My dad was with me and was able to snap a few pics:

Here I am getting ready to go into the machine.
This is me in the machine.  That monitor above me is my heart (although it just looks like a bunch of white dots, the doc swore it really was my heart).
The test took about 15 minutes and the whole thing was very easy.

PET Scan

The second test was the PET scan (which included another CT scan).  These scans produce a 3D image of my insides.  Read here for information on these scans as they relate to cancer.  I couldn't take any pictures of the test, but here's what the machine looks like:

I read up on what to expect for a PET scan and discussed it with my doc.  Everyone made it sound terrible - having to lay completely still for over an hour, no reading, talking, or moving of any kind.  Luckily it wasn't that bad.

Basically they shoot you up with a radioactive solution that is loaded with sugar.  Cancer loves sugar and will suck up as much of that sugar solution as it can.  So then the PET scan shows where that solution is congregating and the docs can tell all the places the cancer exists.  If you move around too much, there's a chance that solution will collect around muscles you're using and can show a "false positive" of cancer.

So they shot me up with the solution and had me sit in a recliner chair for an hour and a half.  But they let me bring my iPad and phone and I could get up to use the restroom if needed.  Not nearly as bad as I expected (I don't sit still well).  So I curled up in the warm blanket they gave me and read a book on my iPad - surprisingly the hour and a half went by pretty quickly.

Next, they brought me into the room with the machine and literally strapped me onto the table - even strapped my head down.  The scan took about 45 minutes, which was BORING!  

This test will determine what stage my lymphoma is in.  As long as the cancer hasn't spread outside of the group of lymph nodes on the left side of my neck, I'll still be in Stage I (which is good).  I should have these results on Friday when I go see my oncologist for my bone marrow biopsy.

Pulmonary Function Test

The last test of the day tested my lungs.  The type of chemo I'll be on also has the potential to damage my lungs (again, not likely, but a possibility).  So they wanted to test my lungs to make sure they were strong enough to undergo chemo.  Read about it and see more pictures here.

Again, I couldn't take pictures of this test, but here's what the machine looks like:

I sat in a little enclosed booth and put my mouth around a piece that was just like a mouthpiece to a snorkel.  Then the nurse put a clamp on my nose had me inhale and exhale at different speeds, sometimes holding my breath, or completely exhaling so my lungs were completely empty.  

The test took about 30 minutes and was pretty easy.  Although it did make me a little light-headed, but then again I hadn't eaten in almost 8 hours, so maybe that was why :)

Overall it was a good day.  Long, but all the tests were easy and now they're done!  Tomorrow is my port surgery.  I'll be knocked out for the surgery in the morning and on pain killers the rest of the day, so I'll try to post an update (and pictures) tomorrow, but no promises :)


1 comment:

  1. Melissa, I can hardly believe that on a trying day like this you can still share that beautiful smile! Stay positive!