Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Bone Scan

After yesterday's wallowing, today the procedure goes on as normal with a Complément bilan sénologique later on today.  Not exactly sure what that involves - Google Translate offers, 'Supplement breast screening', which is also not very enlightening.  In any case, I will use the interval to catch up on the tests already completed.

The bone scan was straightforward, for once I didn't even have to take any clothes off.  

First I had a radioactive substance injected into me.  That sounds faintly terrifying (and left my kids dying to find out if I would glow in the dark like a Superhero when I came home that evening) but I didn't feel anything at all.  According to the cancer research site, this is equivalent to 200 x-rays and, apparently, not dangerous at all.  This does make me laugh as my daughter had her cast taken off her broken leg last Friday and, as usual, the doctor made me step out of the room when he x-rayed it.  Was that really worth the effort when another doctor was about to inject 200 x-rays worth of radiation into my veins?  What a crazy, mixed-up medical world we have stepped into.

After the injection I had to drink a litre of water in a hour and wait three hours before the actual scan could take place.  This is so that the bones can absorb the radioactive substance and the water can flush the excess safely through your system.  

To my relief, I was allowed to go home in between tests, feeling oddly normal.

On my return, I was shown into a room with a bed with a large plate over it.  I lay down and they loosely tied my feet together and strapped my arms round my body which made me feel as if I might be about to be escorted to the mental asylum.  It was, however, very comfy.  

Then they explained that the machine's plate would come close but not touch me.  I was glad they told me because watching it come down to within a centimetre or so of my nose, with my arms and legs bound, was a bit like being Indiana Jones in one of those scenes when the walls of the room start to close in.  After that, they left me peacefully lying there for about twenty minutes while the plate slowly drifted over me from my head to my toes.  It was so peaceful that I almost dozed off.

The only difficult moment was when they woke me up to tell me to change position.  That might not sound difficult, but the disadvantage of being treated in a Belgian hospital (one that is totally outweighed by the advantages of their superb medical treatment), is that I'm having to muddle my way through in French.  Now my French generally isn't too bad - though you might not agree when you hear what happened.  I maintain that I was just dozy and still hung up on the fact that they'd asked about metal buckles on belts etc when I arrived.  So when she told me to put my hands behind my head, ("Mettez les bras desous votre tête") I somehow heard something to do with metal and in my confusion I totally failed to translate 'bras' as 'arms'.  Instead I brought the word intact into English and thought she was asking me if there was any metal in my bra.  So that caused a bit of a pause in the proceedings.  Oops.

I wasn't expecting any instant feedback but the doctor took a quick look at the scans afterwards and told me that first indications showed nothing to worry about.
Hooray, at last, a positive test result!  I might have Cancer in my lymph nodes and liver but my bones are clear.  Two weeks ago, I would not have thought this worth celebrating.  Right now, I'll take anything I can get.

At home that evening, I had to be a bit careful not to cuddle the kids too much as they warn you that you are still radioactive for a while.  But the kids couldn't find the faintest, Superhero glow.  Doesn't matter, they're saving up their cuddles.  And I hope I'm still their SuperMum.

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