Day 13: CT scan

Yesterday I had a CT scan to check my lymph nodes, and use the results for staging purposes of the cancer/Waldenstroms. This will determine the intensity of my treatment, and I will find out those details today, and will write about them at some point, of course.

But for now I want to give you a quick run through of a CT scan, in case you have to have one. There is not much to it, except for a lot of money. My scan was base of skull to pelvis bone, and cost R15,000 of which my medical aid agreed to pay R4,500. I would have fought this under oncology benefits, but as it turns out my gap cover will pay the balance, so they can fight it out amongst themselves. I have enough problems. (If you are in South Africa, and don’t have medical cover or need help with yours…that’s what I do! Check it out here).

Anyway, you need to book your CT scan ahead of time, and when you arrive you are given a jug of liquid that you need to drink by the cup every 15 minutes. It doesn’t taste great, but its not absolutely horrid and I made sure to drink the whole cup in one gulp to minimise the aftertaste. Maybe take something sweet to suck on if you want? For the first 3 cups you can go to the bathroom, and for the love of God, even if you don’t need to go…GO. You’ll thank me later. That’s because by the time you have your last two cups and then they keep you waiting for the scan you think your bladder will burst, and you are so uncomfortable you want to scream. And there is not much that can be done about that.

The scan itself takes about 5-10 minutes. They wanted me to undress into their ugly gown, but I told them I was not wearing a bra (I had removed it during my toilet visit) and promised I wasn’t wearing any metal. I suggest you do the same. To keep my mind off things (all these tests get to me, after a while) I spent my time composing this blog post in my head while the machine moved up and down my body, and a voice told me to “hold your breath….breathe normally…hold your breath”.

During the scan, they will come and put in an IV and inject iodine into your system, assuming that you are not allergic which I am not. Here is the kicker: the technician said that the iodine makes your whole body feel warm and that I will feel as if I “wet myself”, but assured me that I would not, in fact, had wet myself. I laughed, because my bladder was so full, and I needed the toilet so badly, that I figured I would be the first person who “thought” they had wet themselves and in fact did. But no. 🙂

It takes 2-3 hours to get your report, which is emailed to the doctor. As standard procedure I ask all reports to also be emailed to me, in English. I’ll post more once I get the results. In the meantime, I’m off to meet my oncologist.


PS: If you are specifically interested in my Waldenstrom journey, from diagnosis to the present day, then I suggest you view this page to see all the posts I have written about it, in reverse chronological order, or start on Day One of my Journey .

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