Test

Today was a reminder of what once was, and what is to come. “I can’t believe this is happening again,” I said to Dawn this evening as I lie down to take a nap after enduring two tests and another CD full of confusing, alarming images of my insides. She can’t believe it either.

Yesterday I was not supposed to eat any carbohydrates at all, so I had bacon (bacon? bacon?) and eggs for breakfast, snacked on cheese and salmon, and cooked up organinc, grass-fed sirloin steak for dinner (steak? steak?). But that’s not all. My PET scan was the cause of this diet, and as it was scheduled for noon today, I was to fast beginning six hours prior. So, I got up at 5:00 am and cooked myself yet another round of bacon and eggs before going back to bed.

The PET scan, for those of you who do not recall, or have never known, entails an IV injection of radioactive glucose called Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), an hour of sitting as still as possible so that the glucose is not disturbed by muscle use as it travels through the body and snuggles up with the cancer cells (which unlike other cells in the body, do not release it — hence the effectiveness of the test), followed by about 20 or 30 minutes of lying perfectly still on the scanner, with your arms raised over your head.

Aside from the faint feeling I had when stuck with the IV (hey, listen, I hadn’t eaten anything for six + hours, and there was precious little glucose in my body!), the worst part is always the hands over the head, slowly falling asleep, wanting desperately to move them but knowing if you do you will probably ruin the accuracy of this very expensive test.

Later in the afternoon I drove across town to have an ultrasound on my remaining testicle. A painless, albeit always slightly humiliating exam. I can’t help but think how the tech examining my testicle has spent her day looking at little babies as they grow — “there’s the heart, and, oh, do you want to know what sex it is?” — and then I walk in.

One of my mistakes today was inserting the CD of my PET scan images into my laptop. I’d always wanted a copy of these kind of images — the scan takes a 360 degree look at my body from head to toe — and yet have only a rudimentary idea of what the scan shows. It looked bad to me, confirming the location of the tumor I know I have, and also showing new affected areas, also in my abdomen. I shouldn’t have looked. It’s a like a train wreck though, only inside my own body. I couldn’t look away.

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In the middle of this day, we had a visit from a couple of guys who have offered their services to finish our bathroom, since my physical ability to do so may become compromised in the near future — especially if I have to undergo surgery. They are friends of people that Dawn used to work with at the Preschool of the Arts — in fact, one of them, Terry, is the husband of one of Dawn’s favorite co-workers at PSA, Joyce. They have offered to do the work at no charge, which makes me wonder at the sheer kindness that some people are able to muster in time of need, but we have insisted to pay them at least something. If they are not willing to take what we offer, perhaps we will donate the money in their names to the ACS.

You see, cancer really is like Christmas.

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4 Responses to “Test”

  1. Jason Haines Says:

    We will keep praying for you Mike. My mom has told me stories of laying still for the PET scan–no fun. I have to tell you that the guys finishing your bathroom for you almost brought tears to my eyes–that’s what it’s all about! I wish I were closer to help.

  2. Thanks, Jason. You have no idea how amazing people can be — in the last year I have gained a new respect for the human ability to step up and bring love and support in the worst of times. And it has brought tears to my eyes.

  3. Felicia Tabanico Gelsey Says:

    Mike, your brother, Jeff, sent me a link to your blog. He emailed me this morning to let me know about the tumors in your abdonmen. I’ve been reading your blog all morning at work. Jeff stayed with us for a few weeks in August when he came to Colorado (where I now live) for the Leadville 100 race. Last year, he told me that you had testicular cancer and we talked about it some during his recent visit. I had asked him if the cancer came back. For the past 5 years, I have been doing work in oncology with a focus in research on chemo regimens for various indications. Email me and I’ll tell you about it. I will keep you in my daily prayers – I’m still Catholic. Did you know that Jeff and I had our first holy communion together. My mother has a picture of us at home. Jeff had like a bowl haircut! Isn’t that funny! What a small world! Jeff told me when your dad passed away. I knew he was not doing well. I saw your dad a few times when I went LB to visit my parents. My parents used to see Jeff and your dad at El Dorado park at the free concerts. It was weird when I saw your dad those few times because I remember him being so strong and scary in high school. I’ll never forget the sign on the refrigerator, “What part of NO do you not understand?” I need that for my 4-year old son. Although, he probably wants to say that to me! Email me. If there is anyway I can help with the information I have at my hands, please let me know. Jeff told me about Greg’s son, Trevor, as well. Your blog is awesome and inspiring! I think a lot about cancer since it’s my work. I donate a lot to St Baldwicks every year. I’ve been reading your blog for the past 3 hours, so I need to get to work! I’ll check back to see how you are, but I’m sure Jeff will keep me posted as well. TAKE CARE!!!

  4. Suddenly the economy and my sore nipples are put into sharp perspective. I’m with Jason I wish I could be there to help. If my sending good energy could fix a bathroom it would have been done a long time ago.

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