All Aglow

Samain and the Holimonth Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Myself. Tara. Tom. Diane. A bit of Snow. Shadow Mountain. Shirley Waste. PET scans. Rocky Mountain Cancer Care. Prostate cancer. Joe Biden. His Ukraine policy. Joe and Seoah. Thanksgiving for them, for Murdoch, for Hawai’i. For all family and friends. Doug and his bid. Painting. The Hermitage. Herme. Cooking. Today. Ruth in Colorado Springs. Jen, Barb, Gabe. Jon, a memory. Kate, always Kate.

Sparks of joy and awe: PET scan


Talked with Diane early. Too early for her. Still dark in San Francisco. A good conversation as usual. She’s getting ready for a Thanksgiving meal at a friends. Her tutoring student Matthew had a tough afternoon. After talking with Diane, I went to the Conifer Cafe and had breakfast with Tara, who fitted me in between students. I hadn’t talked to Tara in quite a while. She filled me in on her kids Vincent, Julia, and Sofia. Her upcoming travel to New Zealand. Our mutual experience with a grief that wouldn’t come.


Back home to shower, put on comfortable clothes, sweats and a sweatshirt. I’d been drinking water all morning as I was told to do. No coffee. A diuretic. At 11:30 I set out for Lone Tree and the Rocky Mountain Cancer Care facility.

This is the scan my docs have fussed over since August when bony sclerosis appeared in my CT report. Eigner, my oncologist, thought no problem. The radiation oncology doc thought, maybe. A panel of docs. Still, maybe. So. First an MRI. Then, no, this new PET scan which has apparently replaced the axumin scan.

This radioactive tracer attaches to a prostate specific cell membrane which greater than 80% of prostate cancer cells express. Its positives are almost always true positives. Which means, btw, and importantly for me, that negatives are true negatives. Knowing precisely where metastatic cancer has gone provides doctors with a way to define individualized therapies.

The imaging tech came in the room with a large needle and inserted an IV butterfly in my right arm. Discovered I can’t straighten my right arm all the way. “Tennis elbow?” No clue. She left and a minute later came back with a syringe in a lead container. She pulled it out, screwed it tight to the IV, and sent $5,000 worth of a radioactive isotope into my veins. I was all aglow.

Then. Wait. An hour. I fell asleep. She came back in. “Let’s go take some pictures.” She asked me to empty my bladder first. Above the toilet was a sign encouraging everyone (yes, you, guy) to sit down. That way the urine doesn’t spread radiation on the floor in case you miss. I mean, geez. Germans call that sitzen spritzer. A derogatory term as you might guess.

The PET scan itself involves lying down on a movable metal bed just wide enough for your body. I had to put my arms above my head for the whole procedure which took about 25 minutes. The moveable bed slides in small, jerky movements. A modest mechanical sound, a whirring. Not the clanging cacophony of an MRI. At either end of the donut that is the machine itself the ceiling has pictures of palm trees instead of ceiling tile. Took me back to Hawai’i.

The whole process feels like a non-event. Lie there. Get shuttled backward and forward. Get up. Leave.

The room had a tray of treats for afterward. I took a bag of chips.

Kristie and I have a telehealth appointment next Friday for the results. As I’ve said to several folks, I choose to believe the bony swellings are not metastases. But belief can be countered by facts. Or, supported. A week and a day.

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