The Metastatic Cancer Patient's Guide to the CT Scan in 16 Easy Steps

Laurie Kingston Health Guide
  • 1-Arrive at hospital. Settle in to waiting room with two 500ml cups (1000ml equals a little more than two pints)  filled with  liquid that looks like water but has an odd metallic taste.


    2-Drink the liquid over the next 90 minutes, while ignoring scary poster outlining risks of contrast dye with which you are about to be injected.


    3-Finish drink. Wait additional 15 minutes.


    4-Follow tech to CT room, be told to lie down on bed, adjacent to large donut-like structure.


    5-Ask if there will be an injection of dye (previous tech had mentioned that there would be).


    6-Be told that there will not.

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    7-Get up off of bed after tech checks paper work and confirms that he will, in fact, have to set up an iv for injection of dye.


    8-Go to next room. Warn tech about collapsed veins due to chemo. Take deep breaths as he tries to find a vein that will work.


    9-Take another deep breath as tech calls nurse for help.


    10-Heave a big sigh of relief when, after getting help, tech gets working vein on first poke (and no bloodbath ensues).


    11-Congratulate tech heartily.


    12-Go back to lie down on the bed in the CT room.


    13-Lie quietly while donut passes over your body.


    14-Feel the heat as the dye is injected (male tech warned that it will make you warm all over. Women usually advise that you will feel like you have to pee).


    15-Breathe in and out as per automated instructions, as donut passes back and forth over your prone form.


    16-Leave when test is done, without a clue as to what the results could be.


    Fortunately for me, my oncologist is a bit of a rule breaker and was willing to inform me that despite my misgivings, my scan was clean and my condition remains unchanged.


    I am free to repeat this process in three months' time.

Published On: September 20, 2008