It is my pleasure to bring to you once again my friend and fellow PBG author, Carla Rossi! This time though Carla is discussing her independently published non-fiction book, The Living End of Cancer...her personal journey through this dreaded disease!
Connect with Carla
In April of 2010, multi-published, award-winning author Carla Rossi felt the best she ever had. That all changed with one routine doctor visit. Tossed into diagnostic tests, surgery, chemotherapy, procedures, and targeted drug therapy, Carla gives us a transparent glimpse into what the journey was really like – good and bad. With friends and family at her side, Carla takes us through the ups and downs of her non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer battle with practical and scriptural faith, humor, and her own understanding of the medications that helped save her life.
My First Pet Scan
Friday, June 4, 11:15
John and I arrive at the PET scan place. I fill out paperwork.
The technician calls my name. The milligram of lorazepam I ingested only slightly keeps the panic at bay.
“I’m an anxiety patient,” I announce to anyone within earshot. “And I’m claustrophobic. The tube scares me.”
The technician smiles and tries to steer me from the waiting room.
I keep talking. “I can’t get into the tube without my husband. He is the only one who can keep me calm. I need him with me through as much of this as possible,” I explain. “If I can hear his voice and talk to him it will help me to not panic. He must be in the room with me.”
He cannot be in the room with me.
At least for a while.
“You’ll be all right,” he assures me. “I’ll see you as soon as I can.”
I decide I can’t be finished with all this until I get the tube over with so I walk on.
The nurse/technician is awesome. She tests my glucose and injects the radioactive fluid. I sit in a room alone with a television and a warm blanket while the neon juice flows through my body and finds the disease. Now that the extra-large cancer-clad ovaries are gone, maybe it’s a tiny patch of luminescent color the radiologist will see. I pray I don’t light up like an old-time pinball machine.
I fidget in the recliner and fly through the channels to find anything that will distract me. I stumble on Family Feud. Wow. That’ll do it.
After forty-five minutes, the nurse comes to get me. I explain again how anti-tube I am as I take off my earrings and wedding rings and place them on the counter. I am still sore and uncomfortable form the ovary removal so I have on my stretchy capris and a loose shirt. I lie on the moving slab and she puts a wedge under my legs and a warm blanket across my middle.
“Hurry,” I say and put the sleep mask over my eyes.
“I’ll get your husband when we’re about done,” she says. “He can sit at the end and talk to you, OK?”
“OK,” I agree like it’s really OK.
“It will take twenty to thirty minutes,” she tells me. “Do you want me to talk to you as we go or give you time updates only?”
I don’t know the answer to this. I don’t know what will help. “Let’s try updates.” I adjust my head on the pillow.
“Stretch your arms over your head. Make sure you’re comfortable. You have to be still for the whole test.”
She leaves me alone.
I hear her voice through the speaker. “First we’ll do CT scan. Then we’ll start the PET scan.”
What? There’s two parts to this madness?
Now I’m moving into the tube. My arms touch the sides and I become aware of how small the space is. Deep breaths, deep breaths... I pull them in closer and make a mental note to be more streamlined next time so I don’t have to suffer this surprise again.
Now back out of the tube.
“You’re doing fine,” she says. “We’re starting the PET scan now.”
I’m moving back in the tube and then stop. Flashes of light penetrate the darkness of my covered eyes and the whirling sounds tell me this is real. Air swishes through from the other end, giving me hope I’m not lost in here forever, that sometime in the next twenty-five minutes I’ll pop out the other side. I imagine my guardian angels are in the tube with me and that Jesus is reaching to pull me out at the end. It’s a comical visual as well as a comforting one.
I move again, deeper into the tube. “You’re doing great,” she says. “Fifteen more minutes.”
I resort to mentally quizzing myself. I list the seven dwarfs, the twelve disciples, the fifty states. This keeps me focused and takes a surprising amount of time when one stops repeatedly to begin again and scan one’s brain for the missing dwarf. Ah, yes, Happy. I forgot Happy. No wait. Is that six or seven? I start over.
I’m moving again and she announces she will get my husband. I hear him come in the room and speak to me like freedom at the end of the tube. He talks as if there is nothing unusual about this.
“It’s almost over,” he says and is able to touch my hand.
“That’s it,” she says. “I’ll come push you out.”
I remove the warm blanket and eye mask. My mascara has clumped and stuck to the silky material. I blink hard and fast, hoping to somehow re-separate my lashes. This is a futile exercise.
As I leave the office, the receptionist offers me a small handle bag and reaches into a mini-fridge to give me a Very Berry juice box. The oddity of this cracks me up, but I understand and appreciate the juice and snack since I know now most people leave here sick, starving, worried, and exhausted. There is also a book of encouraging quotations and anecdotes inside.
“They gave me a goodie bag,” I tell my husband. “It’s like I was at an awards show or something. And the award for the most uneventful PET scan goes to...”
“Well, the least you deserve is a goodie bag,” he says. “You conquered the tube.”
“Hardly,” I answer. “But thanks.”
I immediately stab the juice box with the straw.
Wow! Sounds like a great book to read yourself and/or give to someone you know who has or is going through this or something similar! You can purchase The Living End of Cancer on Kindle or Nook!