Dem Bones

I just had another bone scan.  I like the bone scan, as I have mentioned before, repeatedly, and to anyone who will listen.  I just happen to think it’s amazing to see my whole skeleton on the computer screen. Really, who ever gets to see every bone in their body, from head to toe(s)?  I think it’s totally fascinating. Not to mention rather seasonal, what with Halloween right around the corner.

For the uninitiated, the bone scan takes place in the terrifyingly named Nuclear Medicine Lab, and involves getting an injection of tracer fluid, which comes in a lead tube with this symbol all over it: 

radioactive 2

I never tire of saying that they give me this radioactive injection “just in case I don’t already have cancer,” and today I thought it would be funny to say it to the lab technicians handling the injection.  They didn’t laugh.  They looked at me and blinked and kept doing their thing.  Clearly they’re not so much into cancer humour down there in the ol’ Nuke Lab. 

Actually, for all the Chernobylesque weirdness of it, the needle is tiny and doesn’t hurt at all.  The fluid travels through the blood stream to the kidneys and into the bones, which then magically light up onscreen when they slide you through the giant George Foreman Grill type apparatus. This takes about twenty minutes.

Painless, fascinating, and effective for diagnosing any trouble cancer might be causing in dem bones.  What’s not to love about this test?

Also, I make a nice nightlight for a few days. 

Not true, I just wrote that to irritate the lab techs.  But if I were to have to fly somewhere in the next couple of days, I would set off the security alarms at the airport. For this purpose, you can get a special post-scan medical card that says that you are not a bomb (not in so many words.)

Here are some things I learned today:

  • An x-ray looks at the anatomy of bones whereas a bone scan looks at the physiology.  In other words, an x-ray knows what my bones look like, and a bone scan knows what they’re doing.
  • With an x-ray, the radiation comes from the machine, whereas with a bone scan the radiation comes from you.  And you were worried about standing in front of the microwave.
  • Because the radioactive tracer fluid goes through the kidneys into the bones and is then expelled through urine, all you’ll see in the imaging is bones, and sometimes kidney and bladder, which show up as black spots.  This is very important to remember since when people with caner see any kind of black dots whatsoever on medical imaging they tend to freak right out.

Coming soon: the actual scan images of my skeleton…  Hoping to pick them up from the hospital records desk in time for my Halloween post!  Spooky!



Filed under Living with Breast Cancer

4 responses to “Dem Bones

  1. Cussot

    The last time I had a bone scan, once I was settled onto the scanner’s table, I could just barely see the technologist in the very edge of my peripheral vision. Once the scan was underway, she suddenly began leaping into the air and flinging her arms about! I had a hard time not laughing out loud or turning my head — you can’t move for several minutes during the exam — so I could get a good look at her. It took me most of the bone scan to realize that she was trying to catch a fly …

  2. Caroline

    I don’t know, that black and yellow symbol (if it had no meaning at all) kinda looks like an angel and the light in your system is angel light.

  3. lisa

    Julian would be SO impressed. He’s been planning since August that he will be a skeleton for Halloween this year. Great blog Leanne – as always. Sounds like those tech people could possibly lighten up a tad! Maybe they could use a dose of that tracer fluid. 😉 xoL

  4. rafael nadal

    Cancer is a disease more difficult to address because the symptoms of this disease but I am very painful but there are medications that may be satisfactory to subtract against that disease symptoms such vicodin I take a drug that is very good at these cases.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s