My Battle with Breast Cancer

Tests, Tests & More Tests

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Let me tell you why.

Tuesday, I told you that I would tell you the next day about my tests and my thoughts on how we, as patients, could be better prepared.

The next day came, and was one of the longest days I can remember ever having.  Our friend Sarah, Spruce Hill, was lying in a hospital bed fighting for her life.  I wanted one of those do-hickey's in Harry Potter, a teleport is that what it is called?  I wanted to be right there with her.  I wanted to hug her girls.  I wanted to take away all of her pain.  Let's just say it was a long day.

Sarah went to be with our Lord Wednesday night. 

Juliesarah2
Photo by The Pioneer Woman

I am so, so happy that I was able to meet her in real life.  We have been chit-chatting online via our blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and email for years.  We might have only met once, but she knew things about me that a lot of people will never know. 

So, long story shorter, Wednesday was not a good day.  I almost forgot that I was fighting the same thing. 

I don't really have a good excuse for Thursday.  Sorry.

But today, let me tell you about my tests.  My doctor, who I will call Dr. Green, would have scheduled a MRI but as most of you know, I cannot have an MRI because of my internal defibrillator.  He scheduled several CT Scans and a Bone Scan instead.  Let me break it down for you.

CT Scan of the Chest with contrast:  This one wasn't bad.  I was able to keep my clothes on; yeah!  With contrast means that they inject a dye into your veins so they could see what was what in there, that is what the nurse told me.  If you ever have to have a CT with contrast let me just tell you, that dye will make you feel like you are gonna wet your pants.  No joke.

CT Scan of the Abdomen & Pelvis with contrast:  The actual scans weren't bad at all.  Let me explain.  I was given some barium to drink before my tests, but I wasn't given any instructions other than take it with you to the tests.  When I arrived to take these tests everyone told me that I was supposed to start the prep the night before.  Oops.  They decided to give me the quick prep instead.  I am already dreading my next CT Scan involving that bitter stuff. 

Do you watch Justified?  Well, I just know that is what they gave Mags to drink to act like she drank poison to kill herself.

Anyway, when the nurse gave me the drink he failed to tell me that it would give me the runs.  And I had a lunch date.  That was interesting.

Bone Scan:  I had to be injected with some radioactive stuff, drink a lot of fluids, and hang out for a couple of hours.  The scan itself was a breeze.  I layed on the table, the guy put a rubber band around the tops of my boots to keep my feet up, and the scan started.  He told me to feel free to take a nap, but not to snore because it would make him jealous.  The test took about 40 minutes, it would have been a good nap if I could have slept.

Now, as I stated before I have an idea how patients can be better informed about tests like these. 

I think someone should video patients getting each of the tests.  Of course, the patients would have to consent to this.  Maybe the people videoing these informational videos could pay the patients.  The patients' faces could be blurred, and kept anonymous.  

I would have loved to have seen a video of each test to know what to expect.  Now, I don't think they should show the people drinking that horribly bitter quick prep.  🙂

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17 Comments

  • Reply Jessica May 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I’ve never had the type of CT scan you described…but I have had a bone scan. And let ne just say…I felt like I was a Super Hero for the rest of the day… Radioactive Woman or something. 🙂
    I hope you have a nice weekend…and that your test results are within your “plan.” 🙂

  • Reply Bush Babe May 13, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Hey stranger… so sorry about Sarah. She was a beautiful woman.
    Interesting facts about your tests. My tip: make sure you tag these so people can easily track back through them to find info.
    Hugs
    BB

  • Reply Jen May 13, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    I am so saddened by the news about Sarah. She must have been a special lady.
    I think your info regarding the tests in invaluable. You are sure to help people. Bless you, Julie!

  • Reply Jenni in KS May 13, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I didn’t know Sarah, but I was sorry to hear of her passing. I know her family will miss her. It is so comforting to know that we have Christ’s return to look forward to and a day when there will be no more sickness or pain, sorrow or death.
    Jo had to drink barium when she broke her pelvis in her horseback riding accident. The nurse told us she had to drink the whole thing, so we kept making her drink. When we got down to where they were doing the scan, the guy there said she didn’t really need to drink all of it, and that he was impressed as that was the most he’d seen any patient drink so far. She was so mad at us–even madder when we laughed! We are such horrible parents, but sometimes you just need to find things to laugh about.
    Danny and I are both praying for you here. (When I told him to pray for you, he said, “The gal with the tattoo sleeves?”;o)) I’m glad to read your posts and status updates and see you are keeping your sense of humor and, even more importantly, your faith.

  • Reply Wes May 13, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    When my father found out he had Cancer, He told us adversity is put in our lives to make us stronger. It made all of us around him stronger too! And you have to be the strongest person I know right now. Keep that smile on!

  • Reply carol anne May 13, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    You’re so right. So far this year I’ve had CAT scans, an MRI and radiation treatments. The biggest part of the fear is not knowing what to expect. I would totally let them record me having my treatments if it allowed someone else peace of mind. I’ll have to ask my radiation folks if it’s possible.

  • Reply ArkansasCyndi May 13, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Oh the fun of the night before “prep”
    You are so brave. I have enormous respect for you and how and McD are facing this head-on.
    Prayers and thoughts.

  • Reply Truekrit May 14, 2011 at 6:31 am

    It really would have been a help for me to have seen a video of these tests beforehand also. I was so stressed out before my tests that I felt sick. Then I wasn’t sure if it was the dyes or the MRI that made me feel that way or just my nerves.
    If you know what you’re facing, it can really calm your fears. Sometimes too much information is a bad thing, but a little can definately help.
    Keep going, you can do this !

  • Reply Sayre May 14, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I am sorry to hear about your friend Sarah. It’s so hard to lose someone.
    Those tests do not sound like much fun. I’ve had the nuclear stress test (radioactive) and a CT scan before and you’re right – it does make you feel like you’re gonna pee your pants!!!

  • Reply Teri May 14, 2011 at 11:08 am

    How nice that you got to meet Sarah. She was so excited to meet all of you too but then, you know that already.
    I’ll be going to her Remembrance in June. I promised her we’d meet and I’m so sorry we didn’t. But I will be there to celebrate our sweet friend’s life.
    I watch Justified (love that show) and it must really be some nasty stuff!
    Thanks for telling your experience. I hope I never need to refer to it but it’s nice to know you care enough about us to keep us informed.
    Stay strong and Fight Like A Girl!

  • Reply Brittney - Our Greener Acres May 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I love how you’re going into depth with all this info. And I also think you’re onto a great idea with making the informational videos. Now if you could sweet talk th docs and hospitals into that!! =D

  • Reply Jan May 15, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Julie~
    It’s so hard to read this post w/out crying! It just sort of surprised me. I had just added Sarah to my prayer list. I had different expectations. Never-the-less, it’s all in His timing. No more pain or suffering for Sarah! What a blessed woman.
    You will continue to be in my prayers!

  • Reply Swampwitch May 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    My thoughts go to Sarah’s family and friends. How lucky you were to have met her. I’m sure she gave you strength which you now have to rely on.
    When I had the “radio-active-cocktail,” I was hoping that when I went tinkle that night, it would glow in the dark. It didn’t.

  • Reply Julie May 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Re: TypePad: [Another Chance Ranch] Swampwitch submitted a comment on "Tests, Tests & More Tests"
    Yea Swampy, mine didn’t glow in the dark either.  🙁  But I did sing Radioactive by The Firm!! I get to sing it tomorrow afternoon as well. 🙂

  • Reply Lucy May 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    So sorry to hear about Sarah. I didn’t know her, but followed her on Twitter. She was an inspiration. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Your attitude is great and will serve you well.

  • Reply debby May 18, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I’ve been thinking of you. I think the one thing that continues to ‘rattle my cage’ is when someone dies of cancer. I find myself standing shocked, realizing once again that cancer can kill me. It sounds stupid, I guess, to be realizing the same realization over and over. The day before yesterday, another friend died, and I had that moment once again. I thought of you and your friend. Every fight is different. You have a good attitude, and that is what it takes. Did you know that ‘Fear not’ is the most oft used phrase in the Bible?

  • Reply Pam Stump May 22, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Julie, I’m Sarah’s SIL and just now getting the time to take a break from things, sit down and check in on your blog. You will be in my prayers today as we are having a private family chuch service for Sarah. She so enjoyed the chance to meet you. You will beat this terrible disease. I started following you on twitter as well, will keep you in my thoughts

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