My Hodgkin's Lymphoma

My Cancer Journey

Testing, Testing and Then Some More Testing!

Ugh, after our first appointment at Hematology Oncology Associates (HOA) it was time to start scheduling the needed appointments. The round of Chemo I am taking is apparently hard on the lungs and the heart so an Echo Cardiogram as well as a Pulmonary Function Test and a PET Scan were scheduled.

July 25th was a super busy day. It started at 8:30 am where Matt and I went into HOA for some Chemotherapy Education. This was basically 90 minutes of being told how much chemo is going to suck ass. I mean, I knew going in it was going to suck, but there is nothing quite like hearing you are going to be sick, constipated, tired, have diarrhea, mouth sores, more tired, more misery for 90 minutes. This was also the day I found out I had to break up with Advil. Ibuprofen is my drug of choice. It works, it works well. Tylenol is for babies, and that’s about all I get to use now. We ended that appointment by walking into the chemo room. Standing there and looking is a lot different than being a patient in there, but I’ll get to that later.

After the Chemo education class we killed a short amount of time and then went over to the nicest hospital ever. Seriously, it had valet parking. I almost felt like I was walking into a fancy pantsy hotel instead of a hospital. We signed in, showed the insurance and then I was off to the Echo. Talk about boring. Laying in a dark room while a tech who is about 12 puts the doppler all over my boobs while my husband sat in the room. Yeah. Weird. I’d say that took about 45 minutes, and I was never so glad to be done. He was having trouble getting a good picture of one part of my heart and pulled in reinforcements, great, MORE people looking at my boobs! Turns out he had a good picture and we were ready to go to the pulmonary function test.

The pulmonary function test was so weird. I have to say that, that the experience was fun and scary at the same time. The RN who ran the test was training an RN student and it was her last patient and last day (they get a three day crash course) and they were both so fun. I mean, you come in this room and they have you put your mouth over a giant snorkel and breath. I cheated once. You aren’t supposed to break contact with the giant snorkel but you’re expelling every ounce of breath you have, and well, it’s hard! OOOPS. 

The next part came was pretty funny. They put me in the little clear glass box, put the nose clamp on made me push my hands on my cheeks while breathing in and out very fast. I kept laughing. The guy would say, “This is serious” and I would laugh. Finally I had to tell him to stop saying serious because it was pushing me over the edge. I managed to get through the test at that point.

After the two tests were done I had to receive an Albuterol treatment for 8 minutes. The student gave me the breathing treatment stuff, and she put the pulse and 02 monitor on, just for policy and started the treatment. I’d say about 3 minutes in I have to cough. Then, I have to cough again. hmmmm. The guy who was overseeing the test got pretty serious, pretty quick and took the albuterol away and made me take some big deep breaths. Apparently Albuterol and I are not set up to be BFF’s forever. It made my 02 drop and my pulse jump way high. Yeah, sort of scary considering it’s supposed to help you breathe.

After that, we continued the rest of the test and it was pretty uneventful, but I felt pretty lightheaded and loopy for awhile after that. I even accidentally scratched Matt’s truck with m purse. Sorry, babe!

The next morning we headed to another office for the PET Scan. This time, Matt couldn’t come back with me. I went in the room and they got me all comfy in a chair. Then I had an IV Started so that they could easily and efficiently put the radioactive tracer into my blood stream! The guy came in the room with a lead box the he opened and pulled out a radioactive green syringe with a quarter inch of lead wrapped around that and said, “This is mostly for my protection rather than yours.” Yeah right, buddy. Then I sat in the room for 45 minutes all by myself while the tracer made it’s way through my body.

After the time limit was up I went and had the scan. it was 24 minutes of laying still and not moving. It sucks. I mean, it was uneventful, non exciting, and of course since I couldn’t move, I had tiny itches all over my body. 

The only nice thing about that was we were done with testing for the day and piddled around a little bit after eating a breakfast. We just didn’t hang out too much since I was radioactive and needed to avoid pregnant women and children for the next six hours. So I just didn’t feel right meandering around while I was possibly glowing! 

Next up I’ll tell you about the Port placement, but that was a week later, so I’ll do that in it’s own blog!

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