Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Where did this come from?

You know that I'm walking with a cane because my hip is sore and hurts when I walk without it. Today, for some reason, my hip has been in agony - worse than ever before. I've been barely able to walk and stairs.... stairs... stairs are almost too much for me. I stood at the top of the upstairs earlier, unsure that I could actually go to the main floor. When I next head upstairs for bed, I'm not coming back downstairs. And even just sitting or lying down, I'm getting wicked, agonizing pain in my hip. Where did this pain come from?

I haven't had pain like this since before we got the sternal mets pain under control. I've taken Percocet (and I hope it starts working soon - holy oh crap my hip hurts) even though I don't really want to take it. I sleep too long when I take then Percocet, and I'm leaving for the conference early Friday morning and need to get stuff done tomorrow. I tell you, this pain is sucking the life out of me.

I met up with a friend of mine the other day, and another woman she knows had a PET scan done in Mississauga. A PET scan is standard-of-care for metastatic breast cancer in the US but not here in Canada as it's expensive and there aren't many machines around. This scan uses a radioactive tracer (like a bone scan does, although it uses a different tracer) that bonds to glucose. A hot spot, where glucose uptake is higher, indicates that there's something fast-growing in the body and so can detect metastatic cancers at a much earlier stage than can a CT, MRI, or bone scan.

The woman who had the PET scan done has the same oncologist as me, so I could probably ask my oncologist to request one... the issue would be paying for it. The center in Mississauga charges about $2400, which I assume is on par with other centers. There is a possibility that my insurance might pay for it so when I get back from the conference, I'll give them a call. I see my oncologist in early May and have scans coming up in June and including a PET scan in with the others isn't a bad idea.

As an aside - reconstructing images in any of these scanning methods is very difficult... and also very very cool. It's a kind of "big technology" that I find awesome and interesting. I think I'm supposed to have enough math to actually understand how stuff works but I'd rather just sit back and admire it all.

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