Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Feb 14th 2010-First Annual Scan.

So it was that we found ourselves on the now familiar road from Bristol to Basingstoke. My appointment was at 10:45am so we had an early start. I had not been allowed to eat or drink for four hours before the appointment and made a special effort to get up early enough to allow me to have a light breakfast as I can’t start the day without food!
Traffic was not too bad but we drove into the sun all the way which was low in the sky and reflected off the wet tarmac.

We arrived at the hospital an hour early. Tracey grabbed a coffee from Costa and we headed for the X-ray department and the CT scanner. The nurse advised us that whilst we had arrived early they were busy and would not be able to see me before the allocated time. I also had to have some bloods taken so we decided to go and get this done first.

The Pathology department was busy and we waited for an hour before I was seen. The nurse who took my blood advised that the week before they had closed the department as there had been a two and a half hour waiting time and patients were still arriving!

We headed back to the CT scanner and they started me on my “drink”. Basically it’s a liquid they give you that you have to drink over a 45minute period prior to the scan to clearly define the bowl when you are scanned.
Time passed fairly quickly and as we watched the comings and goings of the department. I was soon called and had to strip off and change into a gown. From here I was lead into the medical area and a cannula was inserted into my right arm at the inner elbow. I was then lead into the new scanner which was opened in October 2010. I made myself comfortable on the bed and was moved through the scanner and emerged from the other side. The nurses then connected the cannula to the scanner. A liquid would be pumped into the cannula when the scanning process started. It gives you a strange warm feeling that starts in your ear drums, you can taste in your mouth and makes you feel like you have wet yourself! It’s not unpleasant just very strange and I guess dilates the blood vessels to ensure a good image is achieved.
The nurses then left the room and proceeded to talk to me via the intercom. Initially you are passed through the scanner once without the injection to line up the image and then the scan starts proper. The now familiar instructions to “breathe in” as you pass through the scanner sounding over the intercom. The new scanner has a monitor on it that allows you to see the image as you lie there. I’m always fascinated by this sort of thing and if I’m honest was watching it all the time to see if there was anything out of the ordinary on there, not that I would know what I’m looking for!
And that was it. All done in the space of around 25 minutes. I made my way back outside where the cannula was removed and got changed back into my clothes. All done.

Tracey and I then headed for the canteen and ate dinner. I was starving and munched away enthusiastically on my tuna mayo rolls! We decided at this point that we would head up to ward C2 just to say hello to the team who looked after me and to see if we could stop in and see Lauren (a lady I had been talking to on the Christies forum) to wish her luck as she was having her MOAS the following day.

When we arrived on the ward we bumped straight into Sue Alves the specialist nurse and had a lovely chat with her. She told us that some of the money we had raised with the Snowdon walk had been spent on research into Pseudomyxoma which is currently being done with Southampton University and that they are also opening a physio room for patients and will use some money to buy equipment for that. Sue also told us that the incidents of PMP are now on the increase and it’s more like 2 people in every million per annum that will contract the disease. The belief is that the one in a million number was probably wrong in the first place and that only through raising awareness of the condition throughout the medical profession as lead to more correct diagnosis and patients being referred. All the more reason to continue to fundraise to try and help come up with a cure!

We then made our way onto the ward and said hello to the team who cared for me whilst I was there. There were a number of familiar faces and a few new ones too. I also met Vicky Stone who is also a specialist nurse and works alongside Sue. I had talked to her on a number of occasions over the phone but we had never met and it was great to finally put a face to a name.

Next we headed to see Lauren. We’d never met and had only communicated via the forum. We found her in room 4 and sat with her Mum. She was understandably nervous about what was to come but otherwise in good spirits and seemed pretty focussed. We did our best to answer any questions that she had and hopefully set her mind at rest with a few worries that she had. We talked for about 15-20 minutes and we wished her all the best. I hope that in some way my visit might of helped her in the same way that talking with Margaret prior to my operation helped me. Vicky seemed to think I was a good advert for her as I look so well a year down the line.
Time was pushing on and we still had the long drive home to contend with. We were not going to make it home in time for the girls for School so mum came over and waited for them to arrive home at our house.

Later that evening we were both tired and the stress of the day finally caught up with Tracey. The year anniversary had thrown up all the old memories and the images still as vivid as ever in your mind.I'm sure it's really hard on her going back and seeing it all again.She had a few tears.... Now the waiting game. The PMP Albatross weighs heavy around our necks at the moment. Sue had said that she would try and get my results to me by the end of the week, let’s hope so the waiting in no man’s land is not easy for any of us.

I settled into bed and thought of Lauren. I remembered my final evening before the operation and how I felt and the thoughts that ran through my mind......

The following morning we got up and at 07:15 Tracey said to me “She’ll be heading for theatre now”. We’d both been thinking the same thing. I clock watched all day yesterday and thought of Lauren and her family. On the day of my operation Tracey and Mum didn’t get to see me in ICU until 23:30 some 16 and half hours after we had said our goodbyes. For me this is where the struggle really began, ICU was tough....


  1. I have a scan date - Feb. 24, with a follow-up with my surgeon on March 1. It's school vacation week next week, so I will make a quick trip to squeeze my daughter and grandchildren before the scan.
    Hope your results are "clear!"
    Take care, Nancy

  2. Although I'm a survivor of a different type of cancer I've followed your blog for a little while now.
    A 'friend' I met on the CancerResearch UK forums is struggling to get a diagnosis of something, she knows not what, that troubles her around the appendix site. She's had an negative colonoscopy for colon problems and is due a CT scan shortly. Would a CT show up anything going on within the appendix? I know yours was found after rather than before the appendix perforation.

  3. Hi Nancy,
    Good to hear that you have the date for the scan all sorted. Good luck for that keep me posted with how things go.
    I'm still awaiting my results and will hopefully hear something in the next few days.

    Have a great vacation,


  4. Hi Fiona,
    Great to hear from you! I'ts great to hear from another cancer survivor.
    I'm no expert but I would think that if there was anything untoward going on it would show up on a CT scan.
    My PMP showed as thin slivers of a silver grey coating the various organs affected and was clearly visible.
    The best advice that I can give to your freind is to be persistant if he/she is experiencing problems and dont take "no" for an answer. Hopefully the CT will show what the problem is as they are very detailed.
    Do you know which hospital he/she is being treated at?

    Best wishes,


  5. Hi Dave sorry i havent posted before but time seems to fly on by, i wanted to thank you and Tracy for visiting me back in feb it really helped to see you looking so well,
    i was so pleased your results were ll good long may it last,
    i am doing really well not really struggled at all have been very lucky,
    alfie my son keeps me strong
    thanks again and send my thanks to Tracy be lovely to catch up with you both if our scan dates fall around the same time,
    love Lauren xx