Friday, January 29, 2010

Radioactive Woman!

G'day all!

Jumped through more hoops today.

Had to have another mammogram today. I don't mind the frontal mammogram, where they grab the boob and plonk it just so and stand like that and head up! It's uncomfortable but not eye watering. But oh my the 45 degree angle one is a little more painful and the way you have to stand is quite difficult. I don't know how older women cope with it. I also asked about older ladies with a certain floppiness to their front porches - how do you get all of the boob on the xray plate? The answer? They don't!

2901_mamm

(That's a mammogram machine. Indeed that is the very machine that viciously attacked my right boob. It also attacked a man's boobs before mine. Yes, one poor chap had to have a mammogram done. He wasn't exactly well endowed with chesticals if he was the bloke I think he was. You can see the markings for where boobs should go on the upper plate. The xray plates go in the slot in the bottom plate.)

Then we did the ultrasound and biopsy. Again, this was very focussed on the tumour itself. Except they had to take biopsies of normal breast tissue. They anaesthetise the area then use a biopsy core thing that shoots a large needle in. They then can take tissue out of that general area. The biopsy thing makes a particular tocking noise that sounds quite plastic. Alas the anaesthetic is long worn off and my poor boob is telling me all about the nasty man putting lots of pressure on the tumour so it wouldn't move and the other nasty man shooting things into it and bruising it. (They were just doing their jobs and aren't nasty at all really.) The normal part is hardly whinging at all - it is vaguely sore but not outright complaining. Again I asked about how does one ultrasound the ladies of a certain floppiness and the chap said, "With difficulty." So I guess there are good things about being relatively young and perky!

Had my gated blood pool test too. This is a nuclear medicine test that involves having blood drawn. But first they pump a chemical into you that allows the tracer to attach to the red blood cells. 15 minutes later, they take a sample of blood so that they can attach the tracer (technetium-99m). Then you wait a bit longer. No knitting time in all of this cos there is a needle in your elbow which totally stops you from bending your arm. Very sad! Then you get taken into the scanning room and lie down on a cold table in a cold room (machine has to be kept cool). You get a three lead ECG attached. They give you a blankie to keep warm with. Then you get pushed into position and have to lie flat for 5-7 minutes whilst the thing images your heart. It is looking to see how well the heart pumps blood. A picture of the heart is taken at various stages of its pumping cycle (determined by the ECG lead results). They they move the reader to a different position and you lie there for another few minutes, and then you have to roll onto your poor biopsied side (in my case, others may differ!) and lay there for a little longer. I have NO idea how they interpret the pics cos what I saw was a vaguely pulsing lot of white dots on the screen. If I had seen such vague blobs on the in situ hybridisation I did as part of my PhD, I would've thrown out the stuff as being useless! But instead it is one of the most important tests they can do before chemo. Some of the chemo drugs attack the heart itself and if heart function is already compromised, the chemo drug can send the person into heart failure. If heart function is known then the drug cocktail can be tailored for the person.

So now I am Radioactive Woman! Yes, 99m-Tc is radioactive. I've been giving off gamma rays for some hours, but they didn't say I shouldn't do anything or that I should stay home or anything. I've already hit the half-life of it and by tomorrow I shouldn't be very radioactive at all. But I'll add a bit more radioactivity to my life on Wednesday for the PET scan (thought it was Monday, got my days mixed up!).

So we met the PiLs for tea at Urban Burger on Kingsway in Glen Waverley. They do gluten free chippies. Oh my do I love their chippies! Nom nom nom! So nommy I forgot to take a pic.

But even better?

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My treat! A burger with lettuce, tomato, pickled beetroot (very Australian! Both the beetroot and its pickled status), minced (ground) beef, pineapple *and* egg! All on a gluten and dairy free bun!

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(Nommed for your edification.)

Mmmm. Burgers with pickled beetroot (its usual presentation in Australia) and pineapple! All it is missing is the onion and it would be perfect :-)

I have nearly finished a "pair" of socks. Expect pics before the end of January. I think this will be something like the 20th pair of socks I've knitted in the last 19 months.

anon!

4 comments:

  1. Whooo hoo - energize me baby. Point your finger and zap it!

    Only one more sleep 'til I'm on the 'plane for OZ --- That hamburger looked delicious --- going to have to treat my hubby to one of those.

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  2. Radioactive woman..and your superpower is???????
    Definitely beetroot, it's a deal breaker!!!

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  3. I feel hungry now!

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  4. Hope you have stopped being a gamma emitter by now! Fascinating tests but ouchie indeed.

    That burger looks amazing! I love beetroot, one of my fave sandwiches is a cheese. beetroot and salad cream combo :-D

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