What does the doc say?
I just had my three-month lymphoma checkup, for which I had to get another PET scan. I'm an old pro at those now: after doing so many, there could be no surprises, right?
Sure enough, the rooms were still frigid. I was glad I wore my yoga clothes so I could stay warm and not have to change to scrubs, the fate of anyone with zippers or other metal on their clothing. I'm sure those scrubs are freshly laundered, but who wants to wonder how many butts have been in the garments you're told to put on?
The music in the waiting room - yep, still the same. It's the two-CD collection of "Songs You Hoped You'd Never Hear Again" that is played in all medical waiting rooms. You know the one - it features Feelings, You're Having My Baby, and lots of Barry Manilow.
And the technician was still the same - Melanie, a pretty blonde who's very good at what she does. She was even still wearing those thick, heavy-soled shoes. Ever notice how medical personnel have the market cornered on sensible shoes? Melanie's shoes were so sensible that I bet they brush their teeth and put themselves into bed every night by nine. But then she burst my bubble.
"We have all sorts of new things for you this time!" she said brightly, holding up a menu of new and improved barium smoothie flavor choices. "I recommend the mochaccino!" Now I strongly doubt that Melanie has personally tried all the flavors herself, but I was game for anything that might improve the flavor of my barium. And she was right, the mochaccino won't put Starbucks out of business but it was definitely less horrible than before.
Then she wheeled in a machine. "And this machine will actually give you your isotope injection!" Whaaaaaat? This machine was going to put a needle in my arm and inject me with radioactive material? "Oh, no, I still put the needle in your arm, but it's going to push through the dose once you're all hooked up. It's safer for us this way," she chirped. I was so very glad to hear that.
"And safer for you, too," she added as an afterthought as she programmed in the amount I was to receive. "It eliminates the risk of human error." Really? What if she accidentally typed in a wrong number and told the machine to give me a dose similar to Chernobyl? She hit the green button and the machine whirred and pushed through saline, then whirred again and pushed through what I hope was the correct dose. At least I'm not glowing in the dark yet.
The next day I saw my doctor and got the results: still in remission after three months! I hadn't truly realized how much the first twelve months after chemo matter until I saw how relieved the doctor was. He says we have to be very watchful for a year, but that means I'm already 1/4 the way through the worry zone!
Next: 'Tis Already the Season