PET Scans always make me want to start a new blog
Updated: Jul 1
This morning was a beautiful day to get a PET scan. I couldn't have chosen a nicer one, actually.
I found out I needed the scan just a few days ago. I have some cancer in my lymph nodes that had migrated over from a nasty patch of skin cancer. Apparently my family's practice (in the 60's and 70's) of using mineral oil for tanning purposes may have not been the best idea.
So Dr. Meyers took out a section of skin roughly the size of serving platter, and then decided she needed a few lymph nodes for her collection as well.
One of the lymph nodes showed some scattered cancer cells; thus the pet scan.
For those of you both fortunate enough not to have had one of these scans and also curious about it, I will describe the procedure.
A nice woman named Nancy took me back in the inner bowels of the hospital. As we approached the imaging department, I did my best (and succeeded!) to avoid any dad-type jokes or puns about what kind of "pet" would be doing the scanning. You're welcome, Nancy.
Nancy then gave me the quickest IV in the history of IVs. Seriously, it was in my arm for like 30 seconds. That is because the IV consisted only of some radioactive atoms, which then interact with the glucose in the body. She told me not to hold any babies or hang out with any pregnant women for six hours, because I would be shedding radiation.
My wife was thrilled to hear about that on the ride home.
You have to chillax for about an hour until they bring you into the main room, where you face...
The tunnel of doom:
Yes, I know it looks like a friendly bagel [as a rule, bagels are always friendly]. But it becomes a little more ominous when Nancy begins binding your arms and then starts sending your body down that tomb. I mean tunnel.
What happens if your nose starts itching?
This takes about 30 minutes in which you have to lay perfectly still. You can't listen to your earbuds, and can't play games on your phone and can't even pick up a magazine.
You just lay there without moving a muscle.
You know...it was actually kind of nice. I mean, how seldom do most of us these days not do anything? No talking, no listening, no reading.
I contemplated the oneness of the universe. That took about 20 seconds.
Then I just laid there and breathed deeply, and, eventually, began to pray.
The main thing I was praying for? That whatever the diagnosis would not be too hard for my wife, Amy. She has had far, far too much pain the last few years.
Laying flat on my back, able to do nothing at all except to pray: that, it occurred to me, was not a bad picture of my posture regarding most of the deepest things I care about. My health. The health of people I love. My daughter's lives and happiness. My church. My country.
For most of these things, I am stuck on my back, my arms bound, and the only thing I can do is pray.
And it is enough.