The kind of day that makes you a new person

Yesterday was my scan day to see if the treatments got everything and it was also the second worse day I have had in the seven months since all of this began. Turns out, four different dyes and 12+ hours of fasting aren’t a lot of fun!

Our morning started with CT scans at 9:45. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything but water after midnight, so by my first appointment I had already fasted for almost 10 hours. I had my port accessed on the oncology floor this time time because 1: I hate IV’s and 2: I don’t trust the nurses after my last visit, which was basically a remake of Carrie. For the CT I had to drink a giant bottle of dye and then I had two injections of a contrast during the scan. The nurse in imaging was great, we had the waiting room to ourselves, and things were on schedule. I thought “maybe this won’t be so bad after all!”.

Let’s pause and belly laugh together here.

Because my appointments were back to back at different hospitals, they left my port accessed, covered it, and we raced across town to the cancer hospital. My husband dropped me off, parked the car, and I went in to registration. The thing about the cancer hospital is that the signage is terrible, and everything is separated. Registration is on the first floor, which is not Floor 1. Imaging is on Floor 1, which is actually upstairs. You have to check in at both. I let imaging know I was there, got a head nod and “ok”, and then we waited. The waiting room was standing room only at this point, so I stood. I figured this would be good because I was about to sit for two hours. A man on the opposite side of the room started coughing with a terrible cough, so I put on my mask. There are signs all over the place saying that if you are sick, put on a mask, but this guy didn’t even go as far as covering his mouth, so my husband also put on mask. Remember, we are in a cancer hospital full of people with no immune system. The guy’s wife was sitting next to him, casually reading, and she started coughing. Then we realized that the two kids who were sitting next to us (across the room!) were with this couple and they were also sick. I wanted to throw chairs.

After 40 minutes of standing I started to get lightheaded so I asked the receptionist, who has one job, if she knew how far behind things were. She asked my name and then casually said, “Oh sorry, I never called you back. I’ll do that now”. At this point I have been fasting for almost 12 hours, have two dyes in my body, have a tube sticking out of my chest, and have been standing surrounded by sickness for 40 minutes.

This might also be a good time to mention that I am on the first day of my first period since January. This is good because it means that we avoided the very real risk of early menopause, but it is bad because it feels like my body is turning inside out and I can’t take anything. This does not help.

I go back and learn that the doctors have been waiting on me for 40 minutes. They inform me that the way the CT was done almost blew out my port, which is not the casual small talk that I was hoping for. They hook me up to a saline drip, do a finger prick, and then inject two vials of radioactive dye into my system. I get another giant bottle of dye to drink and a heated blanket. I have to wait 65 minutes to start the scan, which takes 20 minutes. Somewhere in that 65 minutes I start to feel a twinge of nausea, but I brush it off.

The scan goes well, but by the end I feel very nauseous. My husband picked up a banana and muffin for me and I start eating the banana while we walk to the car. We can’t find the car, and I am getting increasingly nauseous, so I just…sit down. In the parking garage. And eat my banana. I am DONE at this point.

We get home, my husband gets the burger that I have been wanting since 4:30am, and I end up vomiting for hours instead of eating it. Like, crazy vomiting. The kind that makes you a new person. So now we know that fasting and four contrast dyes are not things I can do together. And maybe fasting in general and me don’t go together.

I made it. 36 hours without food and four hours of vomiting. I finally ate a few crackers late last night and again this morning, and then I fell asleep again. I think my body wants to forget the whole thing happened. Today I had two donuts and the (Northstar) burger that I had been craving for 24 hours. It did not disappoint. I worked a full day, took the dogs on a walk. My eyelashes are growing back. This is not ending without a fight, but it is ending. May the Lord be with any of those people that were in the waiting room if we meet again, though.