Pay attention - this could save your nerves
Lung cancer has taught me a lot – starting with the fact that there are lots of opinions about what a PET scan is. Leading up to mine, I heard all kinds of things. I heard that that the machine would be super-close to my face, that I would need a valium to get through the procedure and that it would be so loud I would need earphones. I also heard I would receive an IV with radioactive dye, and because I would have to sit perfectly still for an hour, I should bring a book or magazine. So, I did all of the above.
Pay attention. This is important. Don’t listen to opinions like I did. Get your information from medical professionals. We are each unique. The same tests and procedures can be completed several different ways. Don’t put yourself through needless anxiety.
The day of my appointment, I was a complete wreck. I was misinformed about the procedure and frightened that the cancer may have spread to other sites in my body. Thankfully, I was met by Laura Morris, imaging assistant, and Nuclear Medicine Lead Modality Technologist Janine Anderson.
Entering the treatment area with Laura, I blurted, “Should I take my valium now?” Janine smiled. Laura took my hand and led me into a room that, to my amazement, was bright and cheerful. And the scary machine I had imagined actually looked like a Jolly Green Giant silver glazed donut.
I saw that the space where I would go through the scanner was very large, and Janine was kind enough to turn it on so I could hear how quiet it was. She said the procedure would only take 20 minutes, then calmly added, “We will be with you the whole time.” I was beyond relieved.
As prep, I was given a quick, painless shot – not an hour IV – and my valium remained in my pocket.
In a nutshell, my PET scan was a non-event. True to her word, Janine spoke to me often, alerting me when an area was completed and I was going to move. And also true to her word, 18 minutes later it was finished.
Anxious for the results, I told Janine how frightened I was, and what she did was amazing. She stepped closer, put a hand on each of my shoulders, and said, “Look at me. You will be fine and get through whatever the results are. You will be fine.” With that, she put her arm around me and walked me to the exit. And somehow in the deepest part of my spirit, I knew whatever the results, I would be fine.
Throughout the ups and downs of my journey, I have often remembered Janine’s words. They have given me strength and courage.
This was my second medical Master Card moment at Beebe. These two women, faced with a frightened, valium-packing, misinformed nervous wreck, took the time, effort and caring to calm me with their words and gestures, pre-show me the equipment, and explain everything I would experience. Whatever they earn, Janine and Laura worked way above their pay grades to make me – not the procedure – the true focus. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, ladies!
Beebe is the first on the East Coast to offer advanced digital imaging PET/CT technology. A special thanks to the Longwood Foundation Inc. for grant funding that made this technology a reality at Beebe.
As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of individuals, local businesses, corporations and private foundations. Contact Beebe Medical Foundation at www.beebemedicalfoundation.org or 302-644-2900.