Do I Really Need a PET Scan?

by Maggan

in Diagnosis,Emotional Support,Metastasis,PET Scan,Physicians

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Something in Dr. R’s message does not add up. First I have an old pneumonia scar. Then it is radiation damage on the left lung lobe. But I had my right side radiated.  If anyone could solve this mystery, it would be my radiation oncologist, Dr. Alpha.

I call Dr. Alpha’s number, fully expecting to get his voice mail, but he picks up on the first ring.

No, he never took any x-rays of me, but I had a CAT scan before I started radiation. (How could I possibly have forgotten that?) He will look at it and call me back.

In less than an hour, Dr. Alpha is back on the phone. He has compared my  CAT scan from five months ago with the new one. The 8 mm granuloma on my lower left lobe does not worry him. It was there before I started radiation and has not changed at all.

“More worrisome,” Dr. Alpha tells me, “is the growth on the lymph node just below your heart.”

I try to steady my voice so it will not quiver. All my bluster and bravado from my days of radiation have  evaporated. I hear how meek and scared I sound. He must have heard it too.

“They never told me anything about a growth under my heart.”

“No, they wouldn’t. They try not to give you all the information. You want to come down and see?” offers Dr. Alpha. “I will show it to you and explain.”

I want to take him up on the offer and drive down and see for myself. But I also do not want to crash into his busy schedule. What do I know about x-ray images anyway? I did not even know you had lymph nodes under your heart. I will have to take Dr. Alpha on his word.

“You definitely need a PET scan,” Dr. Alpha says. “This needs to be fully investigated. I will schedule one for you.”

“But I have one scheduled for tomorrow at 1 PM. I guess I have to go ahead then?”

“Yes, you do. I will read it and get back to you as soon as it is done,” said Dr. Alpha.

I feel doomed. Dr. Alpha’s words – this definitely needs to be investigated – throb in my ears. “Investigated,” has a serious ring to it, like a grand jury inquiry or Senate investigation. And, yet, the idea that Dr. Alpha will get to read my PET scan calms me and reassures me. I know he will level with me no matter what the outcome.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

admin August 11, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Hi David, What’s your question?

Christa December 7, 2011 at 7:53 pm

My prayers and thoughts are with you. I just found this and was wondering where things are now….did you stop updating in 2010? I was diagnosed with Primary Fallopian Tube cancer and am still undergoing chemotherapy (2 down 4 to go) and they put me on high risk list for breast cancer so I am doin my research. I loved your style of story telling and want to know more. Where are you in your journey? I hope all is well!

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