I got my PET scan done on Tuesday.
My First Catheter
I was so nervous about getting a catheter. Everyone I’d spoken to about it said it hurt like a beast. In fact, a friend’s husband (who is an EMT) was all jokes and lighthearted about the cancer. However, his tone dropped several levels into the pits of seriousness when I mentioned that I had to have a catheter for one of my tests. Thanks for your concern, Brandon. The catheter turned out to be no big deal. It didn’t hurt at all going in or coming out. But the entire time it was in, it felt like I had to pee. Imagine you’re out somewhere, and you think I think I have to pee… but I’m pretty sure I can wait until I get home. And then you get stopped at EVERY light on the way home, a bag gets stuck in the trunk as you’re unloading them, the neighbor wants to chat… all the while the urge to pee is just getting worse and worse. You get to your porch, but then you can’t find your keys. By this time your bladder is screaming at you as you revert to your 5 year old self doing one serious pee-pee dance before you finally make it into your house and sprint for the bathroom. It was like that… for over an hour. After the scan, when the nurse took the catheter out, I’d like to save face here and tell all of you I kept everything drip dry, but I’d be lying. I believe my exact words were, “I think I’m peeing, and I don’t think I can control it! Hahaha!” The nurses giggled and acted like it was the most normal thing in the world.
Scott, The Amazing Tech
When the nurses first wheeled me into the scan room, a man walked in… this was our dialogue:
“I’m Scott. I’m the guy who takes the pictures.”
“I’m Kelly, and I’m glad you’re here. I’m very photogenic.”
“Well, I’ll be taking pictures of your insides.”
“Oh, my insides are photogenic too!”
“Just make sure they’re smiling.”
“They better be smiling!”
He laughed, explained the process (that would only take about 13 minutes and involved me laying very still and holding my breath when he said so) and went into the booth. From there, he moved the exam table automatically inside the machine. About 15 seconds later, he moved the table back out. I sat up and looked at him quizzically. Grinning, he said, “You weren’t smiling!” I laughed. “There you go, now we can start.” And back into the machine I went. I liked Scott. He gets a gold star for patient care.
A random doctor met with me after the scan to inform me that my results would be available the following day if I wanted to call and get them. I very assertively informed her that I would be doing no such thing. I would just wait until my consultation with my oncologist on Friday. I said that I wanted to enjoy the next couple of days and not feel plagued by cancer. She looked at me like I was a nut, but signed my chart and sent me on my way.
I drove to Chicago that night. Wednesday morning was spent hanging out in Lakeview with Shannon. At 3pm, I got on a train to meet with Jonny Imerman (www.imermanangels.org) at a Starbucks in the west loop. About 3 stops from my stop, Dr. Mutch called. He said that he had the results of my scans. I cut him off mid-sentence practically yelling “NO NO NO! Don’t tell me! I don’t want to know yet!” He was thoroughly perplexed so I explained my reasoning. He said, “Oh, no. The results are really good!” Bashfully, (I just yelled at my oncologist like I was his teenage daughter) I let him speak. He explained that my lymph nodes were clear- the cancer had not spread. As this information slowly sunk in, I thanked him and said I’d see him on Friday. Just as the train pulled in to my stop, the tears began to uncontrollably stream down my face. I was laughing and crying as I walked down the crowded platform and then out into the streets of downtown Chicago. I was mildly aware that people were staring at me, but I didn’t care. I’d just found out that my lymph nodes were clear!!!
Jonny was amazing, and that’s a story for another time.
When I left Jonny, I headed to Union Station where I was to board a commuter rail to LaGrange, where Chris was going to pick me up. It began to rain, and it was rush hour (which in downtown Chicago applies to foot traffic as well as to cars and public transportation). My umbrella had decided to conk out earlier in the day, so it was just me against the elements. I was in the middle of a herd of black trench coat business types, some with umbrellas and some not. Another herd was perpetually coming at us. I was still elated from the news of my beautiful lymph nodes and even higher after my conversation with Jonny, but all around me, people were swearing and fumbling angrily with their umbrellas, scoffing as they were jostled by the crowd. As I played witness to all of this, I couldn’t help but laugh. I was shielding my eyes from umbrella points and trying to stay as small as possible just like they were, but I was loving every second of it. It was one of those rare moments in life where I felt truly alive. Shuffling down the rainy streets of downtown Chicago, surrounded by tired and cranky professionals, I smiled and felt more alive than I had in a long time.
I Have Cancer
Chris and I met up with Brian for dinner and then headed to EGGS, a gymnastics facility that also has equipment for circus arts (Chris is presently employed performing with Circus Vargas out in California, and Brian just got back from a circus showcase in Florida… these guys are legit). I tumbled and flipped and played on the trampoline and balance beams for the better part of 4 hours. I tried the teeter board for the first time. It’s awesome! The video is very blurry, but you can watch it here:
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Or go straight to my facebook page and check it out.
My point is that I feel amazing. I have cancer, but I’m still living my life. I’m alive, and I plan to take full advantage of that.