Thursday, 1 May 2008

Scan time

This week I've felt a bit rubbish. I got a chest infection and my temperature shot up. I went to the docs and got some anti-biotics, which started to do the trick. The plan is for us to nip away this weekend and I don't want another bank holiday spent in hospital, so I checked in with the clinic and they told me to come in for a blood test. Anyway, wind back a bit, it's been a bit of a busy day, involving visiting 2 hospitals, getting a scan, a blood test and a shot.
I had a scan scheduled for today. The idea was that I'd then have the results in for my next chemo appointment (a week on friday). The hospital rang me on monday to say they detected elevated blood levels that indicated a possible infection. I had just been to the doctors and got some antibiotics, so I knew what they were talking about. During the week, I'd still felt rough and my temperature had jumped around a bit, so the plan was that I'd give a blood sample at the hospital I was getting the scan at, prior to having the scan and then go to my usual hospital after the scan and get the results, to see if I would be okay for the weekend.
I got to the hospital in good time (thanks to Mr. SatNav), gave a blood sample. The blood was taken by one of the nurses who usually takes it at my local hospital, which was a bit strange, but apparently they go around all the hospitals doing their blood thang.
I got to the scan appointment early, but they were running late. I got brought a big old jug full of a frothy looking clear liquid, which I had to drink over an hour. I had had a scan previously, during diagnosis, so knew what to expect. The main difference was that the drink I got at the hospital during diagnosis (private appointment, thanks to medical insurance) was mixed with squash and tasted good, whereas the NHS version tasted like aniseed and was foul. It took the hour to get through the foul stuff this time. Yack. Not nice. Next time, I'll take my own squash along!
Anway, after an hour they came and took me through to get changed. You get to wear one of those "open at the arse" backward fitting hospital gown efforts. I'm pretty sure they are only for comedy value, to keep the spirits of the nurses up. With my "outfit" on, I was led through to the scanner. It looks like a big, humming doughnut, with a flat bed at the end, that passes through the hole. I layed on the bed and someone came to stick another needle in my arm. They didn't do too great a job of it and sprayed my gown with a touch of the old claret. Anyway, you lie down and they leg it out the room and the doughnut tells you to "breath in and hold your breath". You're then fed through the hole slowly, getting told you can breathe normally, just before you have to anyway. Then they feed in some contrasting dye stuff through the needle in your arm and its time to go through the 'nut again. Finally, they get you to hold your arms above your head and its repeat the drill. Then, that's it. Needle is taken out and you're out of there.
I drove over to the clinic and after waiting a few minutes got to see my consultant, which was cool, as I'd not seen him for a while. He went through my bloods and told me that the infection markers had come down but that I was neutrapenic, which means that the neutraphils in my blood were below 0.2 (where normal is about 3). The neutraphils are the little dudes that make up the majority of your white blood cells and are responsible for fighting infection. So, obviously, when there arn't many around, you're pretty open to infection and more worryingly that can lead to sepsis, which can be fatal. Whilst I was there he was able to show me the scan results. He said they're not officially released but hey, I was happy to see. He showed me the original one, with the chest monster sat there. There were parts that measured 13cm across! It still freaks me out to think about it. Then, he showed the current scan and there was not much left of that big mutha. There are still abnormal cells but no big mass! I was well chuffed. He was very pleased and said I was showing an excellent response and was on track. All good. He was then able to check my lungs and sinuses for infection, which was a bonus. There was a very small amount remaining in the lung but not a lot and the sinuses looked clear now too, which was cool. So, with the antibiotics, he thought I'd be okay to go away, but just to make sure, I was given an injection of GCSF (this stuff stimulates the bone marrow to make white blood cells).
So, all is good. I feel much better today and my blood count should be building up. I just need to check my temperature regularly.



Nice Blog Rich, but keep em coming as contrary to what you may think there are people who are interested in more than just punting.

Wht dont you treat the bog as a diary mate, updating it daily with comments about how you feel. It may only be one or two sentences bit i think it could be interesting for other patients lke yourself to read and realte to. I know there are some days you dont feel like doing much but i think when you are better you will have a full daily record of your recovery to look back on.

Anyway keep away from peopl with colds and if near kids put one of those little masks on to keep out those little germies.

Stay strong.

Richard said...

Hi. Thanks again for your comments. The original plan for this blog was a diary of what I'm going through (blimey, that's makes it all sound very melodramatic!). The problem is, like you say, often the last thing I feel like doing is logging on and trying to write something. I'm trying to keep things up to date but not getting worried if a few days slip by, as long as I fill in any thing specific that has happened in the mean time. Sorry if its not enough detail but I will keep it updated when I can.