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Monday, April 27, 2009

Mostly a clean bill of health

Got back from Dr. Lee Zehngebot's office a short time ago, and I received some very good news.

My CT scans earlier this month showed no signs of improper tissue mass anywhere in my chest or abdomen.

This means no cancer. The past year and a half of physical, radioactive and chemical torture seems to have worked. It also left some odd "scars" inside my body. Like a liver that was "cooked" a little too well done by the radiation. Lungs that also were sauteed by some isotope and produce a little bit too much fluid along with the oxygen my body needs.

Because there's so much going on in my scan, the docs want another one before my next appointment with Dr. Z in August. Soon I'll be glowing in the dark, if I don't already.

And then there's my heart. Dr. Z said my recent weirdness in that arena might be caused by coronary spasms and he'd like some more tests done with Dr. James Miner. Not sure what's going to happen, but I presume I'll find out soon.

But as for my CT scans, everything looks good, the doc said. The report from the radiologist said everything pretty much looks as expected. I just wish they'd expected, oh, maybe someone in better shape with a smaller gut. Then I'd be really happy with those findings. Though I am quite pleased with the findings. Dr. Z was pleased as well, though harried in his new set-up.

Oh, speaking of Dr. Z, he has new digs down the Florida Hospital Plaza hallway from his previous office. Not that the practice moved, just his partners moved him into an office all to his own.

Yes, he's just that good.

As one nurse said to me, "This is like the Hilton" compared with his old office.

And, I'm guessing, the rest of the practice wants to use PCs, not Macs.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gulp, the scan

In just four months since my previous CT scan in December, things at Florida Hospital's imaging labs have changed.

What used to be a couple of swills of horrible orange-flavored drink prior to the scan has morphed into two pints of bottled water spiked with an iodine solution an hour before the scan and then one more pint of a different iodine solution minutes before. So while I loved the flavorless solution, far superior to the faux store-brand-Tang-flavored drink we had before, that is outweighed by the wasted hour one must spend at the hospital prior to the scan.

It's not as if I -- and most every cancer patient -- has not wasted countless hours at hospitals and doctors office waiting in lobbies or in infusion rooms for and during treatments. But just when you thought you'd escaped that routine, it's back. I didn't even bring my traditional time-waster -- a sudoku book. But, thankfully, Catherine joined me so we had some time with each other.

The CT tech who snapped my internal photos and also gave the most pain-free IV poke I've ever had said Florida Hospital changed the procedure about a month ago and that the protocol is better. Perhaps the chemicals in the bottled water provide better contrast for the CT. I wouldn't doubt it. That place is always improving upon itself.

The tech also said it has to do with distributing the contrast drinks. I mentioned in 2007 about the milky contrast drinks they make you consume before a PET scan and some CT scans (use liquid strawberry-flavored Quik to make it go down easier). Well, by administering the drink prior to the scan -- not the day or days before -- Florida Hospital's imaging service can't be seen as distributing medications like a pharmacy. Maybe the lawyers got involved.

Florida Hospital also changed the procedure at its Advanced Nuclear Imaging center across the street, where PET scans are produced. So be prepared for a wait there as well.

I won't hear about the results of the scan until later this month -- the 27th -- but I figure no news is good news. If something shows up that shouldn't be there, I think I'll hear from the doctor sooner. I'm hoping I don't.

So don't panic about taking the scans, just be prepared to wait a while once at the hospital. Arrive an hour or more before your appointment -- and bring something to read.