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PEM scan

marni2011-04-18 10:18:38 +0000 #1
because of various ongoing breast health issues, I had a PEM (positronic electro magnetic) scan today- why ? because it is more sensitive than a mammogram for catching breast cancer and since my partial masectomy, the doctor has decided to scan me twice a year. Once a year with a traditional mammogram and once a year with the PEM.

probably the easiest part of the whole thing was the going without food and water for 12 hours and a fasting blood sugar finger prick.

The scan procedure consisted of them injecting radioactive sugar, throwing a blanket over me, turning off the light, telling me" not to move, rest, try to sleep and we'll be back in an hour.We can't stay in the room because you're radioactive."

An hour spent twiddling my thumbs, doing math in my head, designing a couple of band effects for a weaving, counting the seconds and minutes and dozing, later, they came back and took me into the next room for the scan- Thank goodness for padded chairs because I spent the next hour sitting with one side or the other in a mammogram squeeze only not quite so tight after being told "don't move, we'll be back in ten minutes.

They took two views of each side, and one of the injection site (I have no idea why) each view took 10 minutes of sitting immobile with my breast in a mammogram staring at a blank wall.

This is the first PEM scan I have had, and now that I know what is involved I have the following thoughts:

1) bring an ipod for the hour of darkeness- if I listen to a book on tape I won't be tempted to move by tapping my feet.

2)on a score of discomfort, it's slightly less painful than a regular mammogram but about as agravatng in terms of stiff muscles and pain as the immobilization that you go through when they do a needle biopsy ,or place those little metal clips in your breast, but instead of one 15-20 minute immobilization you get 4 or 5 10 minutes of immobilization.

3. Since all of my previous mammograms and medical records are on line in the hospital systems centralized computer, why did I have to drive 40 miles to pick up physical copies of same and hand deliver them this morning when I showed up for the appointment.

4. Was anyone beside me confused because they kept declaring I was on chemotherapy because I take tamoxifen. Who knew? One of them cunningly quoted the old Monsanto Chemicals motto " better living through chemical" and everyone but me laughed?

ah well... its over, I get the fret for two weeks until I get results and then we will move on one way or another from there. At least when I go back in a year, I will know what to expect and will have a nice long book on tape on tap. But if anyone else has one coming up, remember to take an ipod.


MomOnBike2011-04-18 10:31:50 +0000 #2
Ugh. That sounds like all sorts of fun. (NOT)

I didn't know such things existed. Here's hoping my doc doesn't decide that I need a PEM scan.

Good thinking on taking an audible book. I'll remember that if it ever happens to me. Just be sure it's something you actually want to listen to. Imagine spending all that time with a book you hate.
OakLeaf2011-04-18 10:37:41 +0000 #3
Keeping you in my thoughts - hope the results come back quickly and favorably.

(... you're lucky your biopsy only took 15-20 minutes! Who knew everyone didn't have to be contorted for two hours.)
Biciclista2011-04-18 11:38:03 +0000 #4
thanks for telling us your story. I cannot imagine what the purpose is of having you sit in the dark after they inject you with the radioactive sugar!!

Some of the best medical schools put their students in the patient's beds to teach them what it's like sounds like this could be useful where you are too.
Possegal2011-04-18 10:54:41 +0000 #5
Quote:

Originally Posted by Biciclista

I cannot imagine what the purpose is of having you sit in the dark after they inject you with the radioactive sugar!!

I've only heard of that when they are imaging the brain, since the sugar's role is to highlight very active areas and the brain is very active to begin with and would be more so with 'stimulation' such as being able to read and look around and such. I don't think they do this with my sister when she gets her PET scans (to monitor her lung cancer). I'm wondering if this staff just does that procedure for anyone getting 18-FDG rather than just the brain imaging patients? That's all I can think of. Would be curious to hear what the reason is if not that.

Either way - Glad you are doing well marni and sorry for all the surveillance you have to go through. My sister has become such a champ at lying there having scans. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be though.
marni2011-04-18 11:36:11 +0000 #6
[QUOTE=Possegal;558922]I've only heard of that when they are imaging the brain, since the sugar's role is to highlight very active areas and the brain is very active to begin with and would be more so with 'stimulation' such as being able to read and look around and such.

since the cancer cells absorb the sugar and are highlighted, I would bet the reasoning is the same- they don't want the little suckers moving around too fast. As far as I know, all they do is the breast scans but your theory about them not being able to change the routine according the the scan is probably accurate. As for taking a book I hate- I can zone out on any spoken material even if I love the book.

Thanks for your good wishes.
Muirenn2011-04-18 12:42:33 +0000 #7
Oi. Sorry you had to go through that. Sounds like quite a trial.

My mom had breast cancer. And they have me on the every six month mamogram schedule due to family history.

Sending good thoughts your way.
Melalvai2011-04-18 12:33:11 +0000 #8
Really interesting. Sure doesn't sound like fun. I'm glad you reported on what it was like. Thanks!

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