Gail had her PET/CT scan this morning. Of course, we don’t know any more than we did going in, but this will give the two doctors handling her case some more ammo to take to the Tumor Board tomorrow.
(Actually, when I think of a large hospital’s Tumor Board, which is the group that examines each cancer case to come before it to either agree or disagree with a plan for dealing with it, I sort of imagine a Supreme Court — or, if you will, a Harry Potter type setting where professors wearing Merlin hats and long, white beards sit at the head of the room and summon the doctors up one at a time. “You! Step forward and present your tumor!” But I digress.)
It took awhile.
For one thing, forms.
Yes, this was the SIXTH time she’s had to answer the same questions.
Then they took us to a back room where a very nice technician named Jason got the IV started on the first try.
Then, he withdrew the radioactive material from the lead-lined case and injected it into her vein.
Then, he gave her a “Big Gulp” full of this stuff she would need to drink so the CT scan could identify her internal organs, intestines and such, and differentiate them from her lymph nodes. You can see by the picture how much she is enjoying this refreshing treat.
After about 45 minutes (to give the radioactive stuff time to settle into everything), they took her back into the CT/PET SCAN room and sent me back out to the waiting room. It took about 45 minutes and she was done.
So now, all the testing is all complete. Now, we wait until Monday to see what Dr. Strome intends to do. You’ll be happy to know that the Fentanyl patch seems to be doing its job. Her pain has really been cut back. She’s much more comfortable this afternoon than she was yesterday.
So now, we wait until Monday. When that’s done, I’ll let everyone know what the game plan is, whatever it happens to be.
Radiation, however, seems to be out of the question. The literature strongly recommends against it.
Overall, the literature to date indicates that patients with collagen vascular disease are at higher risk for short term and long term side effects associated with radiation therapy. Patients with scleroderma appear to be at the highest risk, although increased side effects with lupus and other diseases have been documented as well.
They seem to say that if the choice is between death and radiation with scleroderma, choose the radiation. But I just get the feeling that this would be “last resort” kinda stuff.