a walk through my scan day!

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 😉

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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.

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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!

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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 😉

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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!

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After the IV is placed, I’m sent back to where the CT rooms are and I typically wait a few more minutes.

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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.

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Brett waits in the waiting room, and I come get him when I’m done 🙂  Then I can eat breakfast and have some coffee!!!

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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.

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This labs area is connected to the rooms where I had chemotherapy treatments a few years ago.

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Then we head to the doctor’s waiting room!  I check in, pay a co-pay, and wait a little more.

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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.

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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 🙂

another 6 month scan today!

Happy Wednesday!

By the time you read this, Brett and I will be in the middle of another one of my every 6 month scans.  This time around, I decided that we would do a post where you see exactly what one of these scan days is like for us, so look for that later next week (eep!  Teasers!).

We’ll definitely keep you up to date with the results!  Wish us luck!

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we might see some changes around here

Hello!

For the past year (almost…wow!) this site has had new content 4 times a week, typically Monday – Thursday.  My new endeavor is going to start taking a lot of the time that MalloryandBrett used to take up because of the way my new(ish?) schedule works.  I have been working 12 hour days so that I can have some time in the morning for NASA work and my new project along with the 4 hours that I coach swimming each night.  This doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging for fun.  Having said that, I love writing for this blog.  It has been such fun for me to develop my voice as a blogger through this medium.  I’ve learned how to create new content, 4 times a week and to bring it all to you with a voice that is authentically me and at the same time, visually interesting.  There will still be posts and updates made here…just probably on a 3 day/week basis instead of the 4 days that you all have become used to. (you would be surprised how much time that will free up each week haha!)

Our rss feed feature is still not fixed yet.  I have been working on setting up a new medium to do that.  Brett has been spending his malloryandbrett time on my new project’s website 🙂  (isn’t he such an awesome husband!).  As soon as I launch though, you can rest assured that malloryandbrett will have a new and awesome newsletter feature 🙂

Brett and I thank you for your patience and for your readership 🙂  We have really liked the way this site has transformed from our wedding website into a way to update our family and friends about the happenings in our day to day lives.  I have found it so enjoyable to use this site to celebrate every day happenings…there is so much beauty in the everyday 🙂

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Happy Biopsy-Versary!

Our third biopsy-versary has come!  🙂  February 14 will always be an interesting day…but it is much more than Valentine’s Day in our household.  We talked in depth about our first biopsy-versary last year.  You can find that post here.  The phrase biopsy-versary was taken from an xkcd comic that we have shared before.  🙂

This year for Valentine’s Day Brett and I went to a Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors concert in Evanston, IL.  We saw them almost exactly 3 years ago in the same venue.  That evening three years ago was hard…we had just found out my diagnosis but hadn’t done any of the staging yet.  (This means that we knew that I had cancer but we didn’t know how far along it was or what my treatments/prospects were).  There is a song of theirs called Live Forever.  These lyrics made me feel so scared and uncertain about what would come next for us…

This year the concert was great 🙂  Instead of the entire band, the evening was spent with just Drew and Ellie Holcomb…unplugged and totally awesome 🙂  Drew and Ellie even played our song 🙂  Do you remember it from our wedding?

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