21 February 2009

...That's PET Imaging, for short

Yesterday went well at the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) where Ford had a Positron Emission Tomography. We checked in, Ford was called back within minutes, and the tech turned around to me and said, "It'll take 2 1/2 to 3 hours."

Ford said it took about 30 minutes to change, get the IV set up, and the radioactive sugar injected. Then he waited an hour to let everything circulate before they put him on the table and got him into the scanner. That process took about 30 - 45 minutes. Ford's review of the scan goes something like this: "very long, very high tech, but if you're going to sell this ride to Disney, you need a big improvement in the storyline."

What did I do for almost 3 hours? Read the material in the large binder that we received on Tuesday about orientation, tests, medications, nutrition, financial aid, insurance, treatments, resources, and some forms to complete. Ford's brother John gave the perfect analogy of the point I have reached: "It's like trying to get a drink out of a fire hydrant." My sponge just isn't absorbing much more right now.

For anyone who might like to know, this is a blurb on PET imaging:
"Other imaging techniques, like CT or MRI scans, can only show the structures of the body. By showing the body's chemistry, PET scans allow physicians to find cancer and the spread of cancer much earlier than they have in the past. In many cases, this early detection leads to fewer invasive diagnostic procedures, more accurate treatment techniques, and improved survival rates."

"Patients are injected with a small tracer quantity of radioactive material that is attached to a simple sugar. Because sugar is needed by cells for energy, the PET scanner can track the amount of sugar used by cells throughout the body by picking up signals from the tracer. Since cancer cells use more energy (or sugar) than healthy cells, if physicians see a high concentration of the tracer anywhere in the body, they will suspect there is cancer in that area."

Ford is awesome. He has a great outlook and disposition. He has always been a great patient when he has felt ill and now is no different. This morning he was able to go to the Provo Temple to fulfill his assignment as assistant shift coordinator. The shift coordinator has been good at watching out for him, allowing him to help as much as he is able and then sending him home when he sees him getting tired.

Everyday we receive some bit of information, advice, explanation, or encouragement that helps us along. Once again we express our gratitude for wonderful family and friends. We are buoyed by the support and feel strength from the prayers.

Next up is on Monday. Ford has two more tests, the first beginning at 9:00 am at HCI and the second at the U of U Med Center. Then Tuesday begins with an appointment with the oncologist at 8:30 am followed by chemo. We've been told that the treatment will be roughly an 8-hour procedure. Hopefully it won't be a rough 8-hour procedure.

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