Friday, August 26, 2011

Another visit

The summer started off full of relapse anxiety and has now tapered to a calm cicada buzz. I completed yet another round of CT Scan and review with the Onc.
All is well. He stated that the nodes have had no changes and the reviewers did note a small spot on my liver that they attributed to a glitch or a small fatty deposit. I've come to the conclusion that after you have been scanned as many times as I have in the past three years, you are bound to find some nuances.
On another note, my painful left shoulder has me at wits end. After a few weeks of PT, that only served to aggravate the joint, I paid a visit to a new joint Dr. recruited from the Atlanta area. Seems like a decent dude and he ordered up an MRI.
Had the MRI on Monday which served as another adventure in medical procedures. My CT Scans are remarkably quick. I'm usually walking out 10 minutes past my appointment time. After quite a delay in the waiting area with other vocally irate patients, a lead covered nurse brought me to the "numbing room" where I put on a gown and a radiologist used a low frequency xray to properly insert a needle into my glenohumeral joint. These two stay in the room while the xray is rolling which is a little strange but their lead lined clothing and throat shrouds bring out a wonderful sci-fi thrill. The needle was also used to inject contrast directly into the labrum. Although locally numb, the radiologist said, "this will feel like a little bee sting" to which I thought, "What? Bee Stings hurt!" During the burning and anticipated pain, I could still hear the needle squeak into place and relieve the dull pain I have felt for months.
After staring at the needle sticking out of my shoulder for several minutes, I was deemed ready and the needle was withdrawn. I gathered up my belongings and headed down the corridors to the MRI room. Incidentally, this was right across the hallway from one of my mother's office spaces while serving as an infection control nurse for years at Blodgett; a crazy flashback.
The MRI attendants didn't provide much detail about what was to happen. They strapped on a support to keep my shoulder stationary and sent me into the tube with a set of can headphones playing pop music. Although I wasn't claustrophobic, the space was very tight. I tired to relax and started to nod off. Unfortunately, the hypnic jerks paid a visit and we had to keep redoing the long scans because I moved. The timeframe of the scans was not explained and I had several 5 and 2.5 minutes scans which doesn't seem alarming but I was attempting to take shallow breaths until it became necessary to breathe a little deeper. They would interrupt the sappy beat with a crackle, "please try not to move. We need to do that one again..." or "it's important that you stay very still Paul." When they finally hauled me out, they asked if I would go back in with the left arm over my head for two, 5 min scans. Nada. Hurt to even attempt the position let alone 10-15 minutes worth.
Three hours later I walked out of the hospital with a numb shoulder and lots of catch-up to play. Still awaiting results...