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Feeling Ostomistic
Monday, September 29 2014

Today I went for my first ever PET scan.

Now before you ask... no it wasn't a scan for my pet, I don't even have one.

The PET of PET Scan stands for Poistron Emission Tomography.

Why was I needing this scan done?
If you have been following my story the last couple of months you may remember
me mentioning that Doctors had found a large mesenteric mass in my abdomen
and they requested I see specialists down in Sydney (600km south of where I live)
to get their opinion on what is a suspected 'Desmoid Tumor'.

I saw a specialist in Sydney in August on the 26th, and he said he needed to consult
with a multi-disciplinary team for their expertise who will meet within a fortnight from
the time of the consult.

Up until Last Tuesday I hadn't heard anything which I assumed 'no news is good news',
but my Doctor here in Coffs called me to let me know that at the first multi-disciplinary
meeting it was decided that it needed to go to an even higher meeting, where my
case was introduced and the Doctors came to a conclusion.

They thought it was best if I went for a PET scan ASAP as they think that the mass in my
abdomen could be a secondary tumor, that there could be cancer somewhere in
my body but not sure where. But also because they want to see if this mass in my
abdomen is benign or malignant and if it is a desmoid tumor they cannot biospy.

Normally I am pretty good at holding myself together and not letting things get
overwhelming or upsetting. But I was finding it so hard to not break down and
cry while on the phone to my Doctor. I was really glad I had my husband home
that day to help me deal with the news and the day ahead.

So by Wednesday I had an appointment for the following Monday Sep 29th,
at Lismore Hospital which is only a 2-3 hour drive north. I was lucky they could
fit me in so early especially as they only do the scans twice a week! And it was
more convenient for me to travel there rather then Newcastle or Sydney.

I know leading up to the scan I had no idea what to expect as I only knew two
people who had these scans being my late dad (who passed away March 2012)
and a friend I met the same age as me on a Canteen camp.

But I knew it was important if I blogged about this experience in the hopes of not
only sharing it with someone who may be wanting to know what to expect, but
more for my family and friends who are curious to know about what it was like.

What to expect when having a PET scan?

Now first things first, this scan is a non-evasive scan and doesn't hurt
(with exception of the canular)!

1) You will be advised of your fasting requirements such as the last time
you can eat or drink something, and also to advise how much water
you need to drink. It is important that you don't even chew chewing gum
as the sugar in this will effect the results of your scan.

2) When you are called through you will be asked to change into a
hospital gown with the exception of leaving on your underwear
and your pants. But you need to make sure your pants don't have
metal studs, zippers, buttons etc.
I knew my jeans had metal studs on the pockets, so I just brought a
pair of tracksuit pants with me to change into.

3) You will be weighed and your height measured to confirm the right
dosage of the radioactive glucose substance.

4) You will be ushered to a small, quiet room where there is a recliner
chair and it is here that a canula is inserted and the substance is
injected into your vein via an IV drip over 2 minutes.
This is painless and doesn't have any side effects or makes you feel
any different like what a CT contrast dye does.

5) You will be told to remain calm and relaxed over the next hour so
that your body can absorb the radioactive substance. They suggest
that you have a little nap, which I did and it went so quick.

6) Once the hour is up you are asked to go to the toilet before the
scan and then taken into the scanning room. You will be asked to
lay up on the scanner bed and instructed how to have your arms
and legs. Find a comfortable position as you will need to remain
still for around 30 minutes, which is the duration of the scan.
Surprisingly the scan was so quiet so I just had another nap.

7) After the whole body scan is complete you will be taken to
another small room where you will be brought a sandwich
and a drink and to sit for a while until instructed to leave.

So all up the process took around 2-3 hours, so just be sure to
accommodate up to 3 hours if you need to ask someone to
wait for you or to pick you up afterwards. Although you should
be able to drive yourself home if you prefer, but you would be
best to check with the Doctor or technician.

You also will be advised to avoid contact with anyone who is
pregnant, breastfeeding, a baby, child or very ill for
a few hours afterwards as you are still considered to be radioactive,
so avoid being in close proximity to anyone including hugging.
You will also be told what time you are 'radioactive until'.

So I hope that this is informative and can help you to prepare
or understand what to expect when having a PET scan.

Ostomistically Yours,
Talya x


Posted by: Talya AT 08:29 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
As always your posts are so honest and informative. I have been told I need a PET scan too but had no one I could talk to or find out their experience. Thank you for sharing and best of luck with your results.
Posted by Jane on 03/10/2014 - 09:40 AM
Got to have this done next week...thanks for the insight...
Posted by Tina Taylor on 21/08/2018 - 06:10 PM

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Thank you for stopping by Feeling Ostomistic. It has taken a lot of courage to share my story and I ask that you show me and my site/blog respect and courtesy. Views expressed in this blog are my own and I am not a nurse or a doctor. If you need medical advice please seek your medical practitioner.

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