The pre-chemo dance begins. An endless round of tests, blood test, scans and more tests. I have so much blood taken out of me I could feed a zombie swarm. It would be good shit too, although maybe slightly alcoholic. Since diagnosis I have found my capacity to drink wine has increased. I wonder why that would be?
Anyway for those that are interested here are some of the scans that are required (in no particular order of preference) and my experience of them:
(1) BONE SCAN - This requires an injection of radioactive dye into your arm. Then a period of time to "incubate it". The Bone Scan, for those who have never had one, takes place on a long couch and a long machine goes up and down your body very slowly. You have to lie very still. Really still. You can't pass wind or pick your nose. I have an urge to pee but luckily it passes. I have emptied my bladder first anyway - its a pre-requisite of the scan. The radiologist is nice. She is young and Irish. We talk about rubbish - general, chitchat stuff. I go home and drink lots of water to flush the radioactivity out. I am slightly surprised there is no decontamination tent. That would've been cool.
(2) CT SCAN - This is a large, doughnut shaped machine and you slide down the middle of it (figuratively not literally. No slides are involved - which would have been much more fun!). They have to give you an injection of Iodine which makes your bowels go funny. They do warn you "You will feel a funny feeling....right.....about....now." On cue, a funny feeling. Not as in comedy, haha, but oooh, that's weird. I wonder if I am in some kind of strange episode of The Simpsons as the large donut machine does its stuff? No pastries were harmed in the making of this scan.
(3) HEART SCAN - I am reliably informed that the chemo I am having is toxic. Pretty goddamn toxic. But survivable. However it can mess up your heart. So a baseline scan is done to check all is working in this area. This does not involve any kind of Mayan Heart Sacrifice - no masked, warpainted monkey jumping on your chest; ripping your heart out to the screams of hysterical drug induced Aztecs. No, no my friends. It is very boring. The only bit of excitement comes when the radiographer has to truss me up like a chicken. My arms are put in a contraption similar to a straightjacket. It is quite unpleasant. I'm like "This is normal right. You do this to everyone?" He nods and then says "I will put some music on to relax you." He puts CLASSIC ROCK FM on and I lie very still, with my arms encased in a thingy (words cannot describe it) listening to AC/DC Back in Black. Most relaxing. Indeed so relaxing I almost fall asleep. The radiographer has to come and shake me slightly. "Your heart rate is toooo looooowwww" he says. I wake myself up.
(4) COIL MARKER INSERTION - I am advised, that due to the marvels of chemo, my lump should shrink. (Not with the ray gun guys - we already ruled that one out!) In order to assess the "shrinkage" a coil marker needs to go into my breast (YES YOU HEARD THAT BIT RIGHT) so that when they scan me later they can measure the lump. This is done under a local but it is still rather unpleasant. My boob will have many more of these so I had better get used to it.
Need less to say some of the scans were clear. Which was nice. No sign of metastatic spread to the bones. But confirmation of cancer in the lymph nodes. Not nice.
I decide to lift my spirits. Dance, Dance (Fall Out Boy again - bear with me) hits the spot.