I grabbed my phone while still in bed this morning to do the usual: check texts, email, the weather. It crossed my mind to see if I had any missed calls, since I've been waiting to hear from my oncologist's office the results of Monday's bone scan. Low and behold, I had a missed voice mail.
The message was from Monday - two days ago! - and was apparently left less than two hours after the completion of my scan. The chipper voice said my results were clear and to have a happy Thanksgiving.
I should have been elated, right? The news should have catapulted me out of bed in joyous exultation. But truthfully, my heart sank a little. Now I had no explanation for the bruised and burning sensations I've had in my bones for the past six months. Could it be it was wrong? I've read enough (too many, actually) entries from women with breast cancer that metastasized to the bone to know that scans can be wrong. For some, a bone scan is the creme de la creme for discovering bone mets, while for others only a PET scan detected the spread of cancer. I finally got out of bed, headed for the coffee machine, while pondering if I should push for a PET scan.
"No," I finally thought as I poured my creamer. Trust in the results and live your life until you have a concrete reason to believe differently. For me, this is easier said than done. I don't possess the fighter mentality I see in most people diagnosed with cancer who are determined to defy all odds. By contrast, I'm the one in the corner holding up the white flag claiming I'm done. And I know how sad that sounds considering I haven't had to endure half of what most women go through who are diagnosed with breast cancer. Most would trade places with me in a heartbeat. What can I say, I'm a weakling.
Now that I've admitted I'm a wuss, it's time to screw my head on straight and move forward. I have a lot on my plate: a family to care for, a magazine to produce, a book to narrate, a child's book of art to get published, a podcast to start, and a women's conference and retreat to prepare for as a guest speaker. As I consider that list, it's no wonder I'm ready to give up. The fear of doing all of that and doing it well far surpasses my fear of leaving this world. Death, by comparison, sounds a lot less taxing.
So, what am I going to do? I'm going to focus on my health which I think will help improve my mental outlook. I have 15 - 20 pounds to lose, which when I do will give me more energy. I think my mind has been in a bad spot because I've been fighting bronchitis (or something related) for nearly two months. I'm rarely sick or so tired, but that will change. I need to get back into the gym. My husband cancelled our membership because of rising monthly rates, but there are other gyms. I also need to be more consistent in my daily reading of scripture which always makes a difference in my life. Always.
Today happens to be the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Catholic Church. Church tradition says she was dedicated to God in the temple as an infant. Even if you don't ascribe to that belief, if you're a Christian you know Mary herself said, "Yes" to God when the angel Gabriel told her she'd bear a son in the book of Luke:
So the angel told her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you shall give Him the name Jesus.…
Mary went on to say, "May your word to me be fulfilled." There was an acceptance of what what going to happen in her life that would change it dramatically. There didn't appear to be a wrestling of, "Well, this wasn't a part of the dreams I had for my life. It sounds like a huge responsibility and I'm not sure that I want that." No, she simply accepted and embraced it.
My plan is to do the same. Embrace my life and the challenges ahead (namely public speaking, which terrifies me) and look forward with anticipation instead of trepidation. Life and all that we get to do with it is such a gift. My new goal as we quickly approach a new year is to not take it for granted but instead to dedicate my days to God and to live them well. Very well.
I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving that's full of hope and joy for the future. Not just any future, but your future.
I'm an 80s girl who never has a shortage of music videos or pop songs serving as a mental backdrop to what I'm doing at any given moment. Case in point, as I was driving to the hospital's nuclear medicine department this morning in preparation for my bone scan, the song Radioactive played in my brain. If you don't remember it from the days of I Want My MTV, then watch the linked video as a refresher. It was either allow my mind to play the song or drown it out with the Christmas tunes that are already available on Sirius XM. It's a struggle each year to delay Christmas music that I love until after Thanksgiving.
For those who've stumbled upon this blog in search of information on getting a bone scan, let me tell you that so far, it's been pretty simple and the hardest part is over. You get an injection of radioactive tracers into your arm - not an IV, praise Jesus. You're told it has no side effects and shouldn't cause any problems, so you believe it. You're also instructed to drink lots of fluids and eat as you wish during the three+ hours you wait for your bones to absorb the material prior to your return for the scan.
I asked about the safety of being around my children who are out of school for Thanksgiving week. The employee with the needle said it's advisable not to hug or touch them for at least 24 hours. But she just said 60 seconds earlier that it's not harmful and shouldn't cause any problems, right? Whatever. I chose not to give it another thought and rolled with it while the song Radioactive continued to roll in my mind. "Well I'm not uptight. Not unattractive. Turn me on tonight, cause I'm radioactive." I can't wait for my husband's reaction when I sing that to him later tonight. I bet he'll head for the couch. Haha.
As I write this I have one large glass of unsweetened, iced tea down and three to go. I think I'll go get a refill and finish this post after the scan is complete, so hold tight! While you wait, here's a bit of trivia for you: The Firm's guitarist was Jimmy Page, founder of Led Zeppelin, and its drummer, Chris Slade, drummed for AC/DC.
I just returned home. Before I go into the scant details of how easy it was, let me show you the surprise I received before I left the house. Look who came home to accompany me!
That above picture is of my husband Randy and me standing in our dining room before heading to the hospital. His computer at work went kaput and is in the hands of their IT department. He couldn't accomplish anything without his computer, so he came home to drive me to my scan! I planned on going alone, as I do with most appointments because he doesn't like being around anything related to the medical world, so this was a nice surprise. For the record, I don't mind going by myself, as a matter of fact I typically enjoy the alone time.
Now, if you came here looking for details pertaining to having a bone scan, there's not much to say. I didn't have to wear a gown or remove my jewelry. They didn't even ask me to take off my boots, for which I was very thankful because I didn't want them to see that I was wearing my husband's socks! Not to mention I didn't want Randy to notice that I had taken his socks! Me thinks I should do more laundry.
All I had to do was lie on a narrow table that slid partway into a tube. Unlike a noisy MRI, it was extremely quiet. As a matter of fact, I wondered at one point if it was doing anything because it didn't make a sound at all. The tech also remained silent. It would have been a good time for a nap if I were someone who could nap in public places. Oh, to have that gift.
The scan lasted exactly 21 minutes. I could see some of the images on an overhead screen and they looked normal to me, so we'll see. Hopefully I'll receive the results before Thanksgiving.
I know my oncologist doesn't anticipate anything suspicious, I guess because of recent blood work, but was willing to order the bone scan for my own peace of mind. I'm thankful for that. You see, as someone whose glass typically remains half full, I've never thought anything could be seriously wrong with me. I think that's why I ignored the electric zingers that shot through my breast on occasion for at least a year prior to me finding the lump. To think, had I had a doctor check them out when they began, maybe I wouldn't have ended up with a cancer diagnosis. So now, when I feel something out of the ordinary in my body - like the bruised and burning sensations in my bones - I get them checked out. Better to be safe and viewed as a hypochondriac, than sorry.
The moral of this story is be your own advocate, ask for the tests you need (or want), and stay on top of your laundry.
Before I go, here's one more bit of music trivia: The Firm's lead singer, Paul Rodgers, recently toured and recorded with Queen. A poll in Rolling Stone magazine ranked Rodgers number 55 on its list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time".
Funny that the title "Author" appears above this description yet I have no idea what to share about myself in this space! How about my first name is Kim. My last name is Tisor. Tisor rhymes with miser, though I try not to be one.
For more information about me, please visit the author page.