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PET/CT, the Beatles and the Kindness of a Stranger at the US Postal Service

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MARCH 13, 2018

Had my PET/CT today and briefly I was radioactive. That scared my wife. They shooed her out of the room when I received the injection.

I figure 17 hours later now, I am now pretty low risk. Probably wouldn’t even set off the alarms at TSA.

Not that I am going anywhere.

Tomorrow I hope to have my results to report. But I still have no news to share.

So let me instead share two sweet interactions.

The first was early today.

After the intravenous injection of the radioactive labelled sugar to measure the metabolic activity of my lymph nodes and rule out transformation from CLL into a more aggressive lymphoma, I was advised to rest except of course for drinking the 2 bottle of yucky barium for the follow-up CT scan. No computer work and Patty had had to exit. So in the dark, alone I practiced my affirmations.

About an hour later, I was walking into the PET/CT scanning room for my 45 minutes of lying perfectly still with my arms over my head and the admonition to not move and don’t scratch the itches that all I seem to arise the instant that the scan begins.

Here’s the sweet part.

I was asked to remove all metal except for my good luck Beatles watch.

They had some sappy soft jazz playing, and I was asked if I wanted to hear anything else. I said anything? The answer was affirmative. I briefly considered Leonard Cohen, but that might be hard to take lying down, so instead I requested the Beatles. It was great. And by counting how many songs I had listened to, I could estimate the time remaining and it passed most pleasantly and briskly.  Almost sad it was over, except for the overwhelming urge to empty my bladder as I was super hydrated to minimize the stress on the kidneys and dump my radioactivity out of me and into the toilet as soon as possible. The labeled fructose is secreted by the kidneys.

Thank you kind, PET tech, and thank you John, Paul, George and Ringo: Hey Jude, My Sweet Lord, And I Love Her, Til There Was You, Imagine and more.

The second sweet happening was a few days earlier, when after an hour wait on telephone hold for the post office to discuss our lost and opened mail that should have been forwarded to our hotel, the customer service representative asked to speak to me after my wife explained that we were in Seattle for two months to treat my cancer. This kind stranger told me that most mail is found in our circumstance and returned, but that is not why we wanted to talk with me. Why he wanted to me on the phone was to tell me not to worry about the mail. Instead I should just focus on getting well and healing and that he would pray for me and he was sure I would be fine.

So who would have thought a PET/CT and a call to the USPS after an hour on hold would be such positive experience. I am learning to be open to the beauty that you can find in the most unlikely places.


I feel blessed. And very lucky.

One Response

  1. Hi!
    Thanks for sharing those sweet encounters.
    Wondering if you and Patty are free and up to some sailing. This Fri should be sunny with temp 55F. Our boat is kept in Poulsbo. She is a very sturdy Westsail 28, 35’ overall. Even with light wind we find it fun to just be on the water on a sunny day. The cabin has a very effective diesel heater that keeps it cozy and also serves as a cooktop. We have comfy beds for rest or naps. Cloudy days are okay too.
    Terry & Linda Lee
    Phone: 425-609-8127. C: 360-271-3532.

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