“Me too” and CT Scans

“Some of the most comforting words in the universe are ‘me too.’ That moment when you find out that your struggle is also someone else’s struggle, that you’re not alone, and that others have been down the same road.” -unknown

I have been hearing “me too” a lot recently. In some ways, it is just as the above quote says – incredibly comforting to not be alone.

On the other hand, I’m hearing it too often. As soon as I posted my first blog, they started rolling in. Phone calls, texts, emails, FB messages… So many of them with that common refrain: Me too.

I can’t tell you how many people have told me they’ve been through melanoma or other types of cancer before. Even more striking, two beautiful friends from two different states and from two different eras of my life reached out to tell me about their current journey – one with melanoma (our surgeries were 1 day apart!), and one preparing for her mastectomy to fight breast cancer. Both are my age.

I share this with you because I hope you will take this as your sign. Whatever it is, whether there is a weird spot or you’ve felt some pain or something just isn’t right, you should go get it checked. I regret waiting until September, when I knew all summer that something was wrong.

Again: this is your sign. Stop waiting, and go get whatever it is checked. And let me know how it goes.

Today’s CT Scan

Today I had my first CT Scan (there will be many in my near future!)

I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything but water after 9am, and at 11am I had to begin drinking what I have been calling my “potion” (I can find a way to incorporate Harry Potter into anything…). The potion was really just two bottles of Crystal Light with iodine-based dye mixed in. And the radiologist was way nicer than Professor Snape.

My “potion” and Mandy’s coloring page

Over two hours, I drank the two bottles. All was fine until about an hour and a half in, when I started to feel a little nauseous. But it really wan’t too bad. Plus, my mind was occupied with the adult coloring pages that my dear friend Mandy brought with us to the waiting room. There were lots of children in the waiting room, and none of them were coloring. I consider that poor planning on their parents’ part.

At 1pm I was taken back to the patient rooms and changed into my hospital gown. My IV was inserted (ugh. worst part), and the Professor-Lupin-with-a-pony-tail radiologist walked me down to the room with the giant CT scanner. I lay down on the human-sized shelf and put my head on what reminds you of a really stiff pillow (designed to not allow your head to move while being scanned).

The first scan was of my head, with no “contrast.” The machine moved me back and forth a few times while it hummed and made all sorts of great noises. Next, Professor Pony Tail came back to put contrast in my IV. He warned me of the following:

  1. You will get a metallic taste in your mouth.
  2. You will feel sudden heat throughout your body.
  3. You will feel like you need to urinate.

Ok… He was almost accurate. Yes to the metallic taste. Yes to sudden, weird heat that seems to be coursing through your veins. But #3 was not quite right. Luckily, Mandy had warned me that it would feel like I had actually wet myself… And she was SO RIGHT. It is the strangest feeling… not that you need to use the bathroom, but that you already have. And the weirdest part is that it’s not true; it’s just how you feel. It goes away after about two minutes.

At this point they scanned my entire torso (chest, abdomen, pelvis). They waited about five minutes and scanned my torso again. Then, it was back to a second scan of my head.

If you’re at all worried about an upcoming CT scan and feeling claustrophobic, I want to reassure you that it’s not bad at all. It’s nothing like the tube you go into for an MRI. With the CT scan, the sides were open, and most of the machine was above me, not around me. Often my head and face were completely outside of the machine (except when they were doing the head scans).

As soon as the scans were done, they removed my IV, I changed back into my clothes, and I was out of there. By about a half hour after my scans began, I was already at McAlister’s with two of my favorite people (Mandy and Andrea!) breaking my fast with some massive potatoes.

Results will be in tomorrow or Monday (when I have a consultation with my surgeon).