So, having never even heard of a PET scan before I obviously had a search about on the web but, truthfully, it really doesn’t prepare you for the reality of a scan that makes you radioactive.
So here is how it goes. You go to a separate building in the hospital – its tucked away at the back of the hospital. You don’t think to question this when you arrive. Having filled in the questionnaire, a nurse collects you and gives you a tour of the building. This is not for fun or to make you feel comfortable, this is because once the radioactive dye is in your system, you will be finding your way around the building yourself, no more human contact!
Once you have got changed into your gown, the nurse takes you into a small room with just a bed in it. She takes your blood sugar and explains that another nurse will be in with the special dye later. From your room there is a yellow line which you have to follow to the PET Scan machine. At that point the nurse runs off as quickly as possible – she doesn’t actually run, it just feels like it. Another nurse comes in with the dye. I have hopeless veins and normally sticking a needle in them is a bit of a drama – not in the PET scan building. The needle and the dye are in before we’ve been formally introduced.
You then have to lie in the little room, with the lights turned down low (but no music) for the next 45 minutes. A voice then comes over the speaker to ask you to follow the line to the scan room. The machine itself seems bigger and more ominous than the MRI or CT scan machines but I suspect this is because you are in the room alone.
When the scan is over, the detached voice asks you if you would like a cup of tea\chocolate biscuit\banana and sends you back to your room to get dressed. Once dressed, you follow a line to the ‘tea room’. This room has one chair and a small table. I had requested a cup of tea and a banana; they were waiting for me on the table.
Once you are ready to leave, you exit through a back door and that’s when you realise you’ve come out of the hospital with no human contact.
You are radioactive so no contact with pregnant ladies or young children. Huge disappointment to me that when I went to the toilet it didn’t glow green sadly and apparently I didn’t glow in the dark either.
The PET scan showed the cancer where expected but also gave a doubt about another area – my paraaortic lymph node (doesn’t everyone know what that is). This meant that whilst the PET scan was highly skilled, I needed to go back a step and have a standard MRI to check out this new possible problem.
More scans and tests before surgery…………..