Saturday, 7 January 2012

Isotope CT Scan

Yesterday I went to hospital for an isotope CT full body scan. As a cancer patient, the NHS takes any ache or pain seriously. Since I started on Tamoxifen I have had the most incredible back pain. Lower back to be specific. When I rest the pain is insignificant but when I start to do anything "normal" the pain becomes unbearable at times.

My Oncologist had already ordered a lumber Xray and from that he was pretty sure that they pain wasn't related to cancer but wanted me to have a CT scan just to make sure.

The procedure is simple really and if you didn't have a back problem it could be quite a relaxing experience!

The first appointment a few hours prior to the scan is to have a small amount of radio-active stuff injected into you. My veins are still damaged by the chemo and herceptin and the radiographer told me it can take up to 5 years for them to recover. There are still signs of cording but I thought that because my hand grip was better that they had got better.

Anyway I digress.

My veins are small so she used a butterfly needle to get to the vein to which she attached a tube. She then pumped saline into my vein to make sure that there were no leaks and that the fluid was going into my vein and not out into my body. Once this was done, the isotope fluid was put in.

I nipped into Wrexham town for a sandwich and to kill some time (a very depressing place these days) and then back again. I sat in the foyer people watching for a some time (oh the sights you see), had a cuppa then took myself off to Xray.

You have to remove any metal objects from your person so thats money in your pocket, jewelry, belts and even boots with large eye lets.

They position you on the scanner bed, and use a velcro material thingy (all very technical) to keep your feet together and then for your arms.

The scanner comes over your body starting with your head, its so close you can actually feel the hairs on your body lifting up.

As I said, this could be a relaxing thing but for me my back was agony as I felt it locking. The scan took about 25 minutes and by the end of it I was ready to scream but was additionally worried about how I was actually going to get off the bed...... I had visions of flopping onto the floor!

The radiographer came in and asked if I had any pain "too right" I did! He then told me he wanted to take a more detailed scan of the affected area which would show up anything including arthritus etc. He was really kind though and gave me a triangular shaped cushion thingy to support my knees which took the pressure off my back.

This scan took 20 minutes and made my legs tickle!

After an hour on that scanner bed my back was in terrible shape I felt like an old lady getting up and off the flippin bed!

At least its done now and they can rule out cancer to the bone then when I see the orthopedic team they will have information at the ready to make any diagnosis and get me some help.

I do get a bit down with the side effects of treatment but then I give myself a good talking too because they are a small price to pay for the fact that I have my life.

I am forever indebted to the NHS, to surgeons, doctors, nurses, researchers, auxiliory staff - everyone who has made my treatment and ongoing life possible.


  1. It's quite the experience, that's for sure. I had one done before my treatment began because I had 1 lymph node show slight traces of cells so it was don't before anything else to determine if the cancer had spread and what treatment I would need. Thankfully it hadn't, but when you mentioned how close it comes to your body -- it brought it all back!!!

    I could "feel" how uncomfortable you were from the description...and I get pain like that from time to time. It isn't constant every day but I do get it. I often put it down to the damage from the taxol drug in my treatment. And bone damage from everything. Cancer treatment makes us old before our time!

    But I agree with you 100% least we have our lives. It's still okay for us to complain about pain and seek relief but we know it's the price we paid to be where we are today. Hopefully your doctors can find some permanent relief for you, even it if means pain medication from here and to forever. xoxox

  2. I remember these tests. It's what you have to do to cover all the bases and get to "home". Cancer is scary, but when I considered the alternative to living through the treatments and those scary machines... it was worth all the pain. It will, at some point, be over and life will be worthy of all your efforts.

  3. Well done you for getting through another difficult day x I had a couple of MRI brain scans done a while back and found it very hard to relax inside the machine. I was given one piece of advice "Don't open your eyes..." - that's like telling a kid the sweets are in that box, but don't have any! Just hope you keep getting positive news Sara... keep smiling and keep blogging x

  4. Aw very Well done for being able to get through that while in such pain Sara, I know what excruciating back pain is like, it must have been so hard for you...
    Let's hope you get answers soon
    Much love my friend
    Joni xxxxx

  5. Well done for getting through that while in such pain Sara, I completely sympathise with you knowing what excruciating back pain is like..
    I hope you get some answers soon my friend ..
    Much love to you
    Joni xxxx


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