Last week I had a clean, 6-month scan!!! I have one more of those every 6 month scans and then two, every year scans before I am officially done with my clinical trial. As promised last time (and last week), Brett and I documented this scan, step by step as we went through the hospital and our day. 🙂
Since we come to the hospital from out of town, Brett and I always drive down the night before and then take the first CT scan appointment of the day. This means a 6:15 am departure from my childhood home…or 6:20 am if we are leaving late 😉
When we drive to the hospital, we park in the garage that is adjacent to the building where my CT scans, labs (when they draw blood to check things), and my doctor’s appointment all are.
In all of these pictures, Brett and I both look a little tired. 🙂 We aren’t used to getting up before 6 am and we had just returned from our all night drive home from Boston the day before heading down to St. Louis 🙂 Busy couple of days!
When we get to the CT waiting room, the women there know me by name. They always exclaim “Good morning Ms. Casperson!” as we walk in 🙂 I always fill out the same forms…I did this even when I was getting scanned ever 3 months…I could complain about that and other hospital idiosyncrasies for hours 😉
Then they call me into the back where they start an IV. When I was still doing chemo, this process was a lot easier because I had a port they could easily access in my chest. It meant that they didn’t have to find a good vein in my dehydrated body’s arm (I have to fast starting at midnight the day before the scan) but used the port that was connected straight to an artery in my neck. I used to always be given a special liquid to drink at this stage too. It tasted super funny and my GI system didn’t like it all that much… Now though, I don’t have to drink it! Win win!
After the IV is placed, I’m sent back to where the CT rooms are and I typically wait a few more minutes.
This is what the CT machines look like. I lay down on the table and it raises and retracts into the doughnut shaped part of the machine. They scan my neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvic area. While you are allowed to have some metal on you (unlike an MRI), I can’t have it in areas where I am directly scanned. I have learned to dress appropriately so that I don’t have to change into some awful hospital paper outfit or raise/lower a piece of clothing for the scan. I typically wear comfy/kind of fashionable pajama pants, a cami with built in “bra”, a stretchy top, and some sort of sweater that will keep me warm in the chilly hospital and has no metal (no zipper for instance) but that I can also roll up the sleeves. On the arm where the IV is started, I need to roll up that sleeve without removing my sweater all the way…plus, having some fabric (like a rolled up sweater sleeve) under the tourniquet they use to start the IV makes that process a bit more comfortable.
Brett waits in the waiting room, and I come get him when I’m done 🙂 Then I can eat breakfast and have some coffee!!!
Next, we head to the labs area. Here, they draw the blood needed to take all of the measurements they need to see if I’m healthy and monitor everything they do for the clinical trial.
This labs area is connected to the rooms where I had chemotherapy treatments a few years ago.
Then we head to the doctor’s waiting room! I check in, pay a co-pay, and wait a little more.
Then we meet with the doctor. I really love my doctor and her team. I think that choosing someone to handle your treatment that you are comfortable with is a HUGELY important thing 🙂
Outside of the doctors’ offices and the labs area, there is a bell. Patients ring it whenever they want. It signifies good news and everyone claps and cheers whenever the bell is rung. It makes me teary eyed just thinking of all of the rings I have heard while in the cancer area…whether in labs, treatment, or seeing the doctor.
And that’s it! Brett and I weren’t documenting our lives they way we do now, when I was going through chemo. On a chemo day (if I also had a scan), our day would have started just like I just described, and then after the doctor’s appointment we would have headed across the hall to chemo. Finger’s crossed that those days are behind us 🙂