Saturday, December 5, 2009

The difference between a PET scan and a CT scan.

Hiya gang,

A lot of folks I run into have been asking me the difference between a PET scan and a CT scan. I have both coming up.

The PET scan is next week. PET is Positron Emission Tomography. What happens is I report to the imaging center, they give me one of those hot ass-less evening gowns and they take me a dark, quiet room. No, not for that silly! My RN comes in with a little lead toolbox. Inside the lead box is a little vial of a gamma isotope. I get injected with this isotope and I get to sit very quietly and try not to even think for like 15 - 20 minutes. The isotope will lodge into active cells, in my case, cancer cells eat up the isotope like candy. Then they put me into the big donut and scan my body. The images that are created will show any new cancer that may be growing in my body. Likely, since my markers are climbing again.

In January, we do another CT scan at Stanford. We go to Stanford because they have higher resolution scanners than what's available in Chico.

CT is x-ray computed tomography. In this procedure, I drink a pineapple-barium smoothy the night before, and another cup of the same stuff in the morning. They take me to the scanning room and hook me up to an IV. Then they drag out this wicked looking arm that would fit right in a Star Wars movie and hook me up. They inject 300 cc's of iodine into me...all at once. I get the taste of a penny in my mouth and then heat runs through from my arm, into my shoulder and clear down to my toes... really fast... really hot... really weird. Then they take the scans.

At some point, my surgeon at Stanford will compare the disk from the PET scan that I bring (that the Chico imaging center does NOT charge me for). Later, my oncologist will compare the two disks (one that Chico does NOT charge me for and Stanford charges over 200 bucks for). Hopefully we'll find out what's growing in me so that we can get it out of there.

So, now we're all caught up.

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