Saturday, 10 December 2016

I'm radioactive, radioactive!

As mentioned in the last post, I had to get a CT Scan this week on Tuesday.  I flew down the night before and slept in a hotel.  I got up early and was at the hospital by 7a, an hour before my appointment.  I went and registered and then went to the diagnostic imaging department.  Once I was directed to the correct set of seats, a tech came out of the CT Scan room and gave me two medium cups of radioactive water to drink.  This was so they would be able to see my digestive system.   I had to drink both cups in under 10 minutes.  It took me 13 minutes, but I was the only one timing it.   I had to wait 30-45 mins before they brought me into the room. 

The room had a couple seats and a plant.  The CT Scanner was behind another door.  I was given a hospital gown and the IV needle was implanted in my arm and then tested to ensure it was set correctly.  I was told during the scan they were going to insert a radioactive dye into my vein so that they can see my blood vessels.  I was warned that many people who have it done feel warm as the dye is warm, and sometimes they feel like they are peeing.  He didn't say "felt like they have to pee" he actually said "peeing"  and he did it a second time.  I was a little scared of that! 

They brought me into the CT Scanner room and I lay down on the white, thin table.  The CT Scanner looks like an MRI machine, but more like a doughnut than a cylinder.  They told me they were going to do three scans: one with things how they are, one with the radioactive dye, and one once they have flushed the dye from my veins with saline.  I was told to raise my hands above my head and the IV line was placed around my thumb so it wouldn't get caught on anything.

I was scanned once, felt nothing.  They told me they were going to inject the dye.  I said "Okay."  Then I feel a hot liquid go past my thumb.  Not a second later I felt it go into my arm, and within 2 seconds it was throughout my body.  It wasn't just warm, it really was hot, but not scalding.  Still, I was starting to feel like I was overheating when I felt cool go through the IV at my thumb, and within a second my body temperature lowered again.  I was scared for a second though!  They did the scan, and then they flushed out my veins with saline and did the scan one more time like they said. The entire process was maybe 5-10 minutes.  When they came to unhook the IV, I asked how long it takes the dye to leave my system.  He said usually 24-48 hours and that it leaves the body through the urine. The radioactive water I knew would just pass through the GI tract.  It caused a bit of diarrhea which went away within 24 hours.

I did some research afterwards about CT Scans.  Apparently one scan gives you the equivalent of 2.7 years worth of background radiation.  The dye and water were also radioactive, and I'm not sure how much and online they said it varies from test to test and hospital to hospital.  But all told, I probably had a decade's worth of radiation in the span of an hour.  But it only slightly increases my risk of cancer, so there's that.

Getting home was an adventure.  After the flight being delayed for hours, we get into the plane and take off.  We made it all the way to Weagamow Lake when the pilot turned on a light and told us they hadn't plowed the runway, so he was taking us back to Sioux Lookout.  There were 7 of us affected by this.  We returned safely and were told we were rebooked onto a flight the next day around noon.  So I had to call the hotel and book another room for the night.

Returned to the airport the next morning.  Flights were delayed again because of weather, but another flight was able to land in Weagamow so they were pretty sure we'd be fine. We were delayed a couple hours but then we finally were loaded on a plane and an hour later we were in Weagamow Lake.  Once Andrew picked me up and I  put my stuff in the house, I worked the rest of the work day.

And that was my adventure to Sioux Lookout.  lol  As I said to one of the others on the flight, "Let's not have this much excitement next time."  She agreed.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

I have HOW many days?

Two days ago, on Thursday 1 Dec, I get a call in the morning from the Nursing Station.  I have a CT Scan in Sioux Lookout on Tuesday, 6 December at 8am. HOLY SHIT!  That's not much notice, but when I went to pick up the appointment sheet I noticed it was a fax that was sent in that day at 11am.  So the Nursing Station had called me as soon as they received the fax.

Had to scramble a bit to get flights worked out before end-of-day Friday (i.e., 5pm) but it was arranged and I have my itinerary.  Because the CT Scan is so early in the morning, I am coming back the same day as the scan, so really I'm only gone from here for about 24 hours (4ish pm Mon to 4ish pm Tues).

Last night as I was going to bed, I realized I hadn't yet booked a hotel room for the night I'll be in Sioux.  So today on my much I went to Expedia and booked a room at the same hotel I was at last time.  I didn't sleep well the last time, but that wasn't the hotel's fault.  There were kids running up and down the halls all night.  Besides, they are the only hotel out of the 3 listed who have free transportation from the airport to the hotel, so I save on cab fare.

I've also been asking about getting a local SIM card for the cell phone network here.  Apparently it works anywhere on the Rogers network (considered roaming when on Rogers) and the local tower offers 3G data now.  The rates for the local cell phone network are MUCH CHEAPER than Fido's pay-as-you-go rate I've been using, which is their 40 cents a minute plan.  It's 40 cents for every local minute, 30 cents for every SMS, and like an additional 50 cents per minute if it's long distance.  No data.  KNet is like... 5 cents per local minute, 5 cents per SMS, and 30 cents for a long distance roaming minute,  And since KNet is also pay-as-you-go and you top up with vouchers, I can top up only as I need to.  Just have to make sure I have a balance every couple months because after 3 months of no balance I'd lose the phone number (Fido gives you 6 months).  This way I shouldn't easily burn through $40-$50 in usage in a week when I'm down south.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

More blood!

So yesterday I received a call from the head nurse in the nursing station, letting me know they received a fax from Dr. Folk and that he says my liver function has improved.  Yay?  I didn't do anything and I couldn't have done anything and I doubt this changes the fact I have a tumour so it's a short-lived victory.

Today I received a phone call from the nursing station that I have been scheduled for blood work tomorrow first thing in the morning.  Holy crap!  How many more blood tests do they NEED?  I wonder if the one test thawed out again.  :P  We will find out tomorrow!

Friday, 25 November 2016

When doctors become vampires

In the week since I posted, I've had blood work done twice.  Once on the 19th and once again on the 23rd.  The blood work was to check all sorts of things, such as hepatitis, my kidney enzymes, my liver enzymes, how well my blood clots, et cetera.  I had to return on the 23rd because one of the initial tests was supposed to reach the lab frozen and it had thawed by the time it got there, so they had to do it again.  The doctor had also ordered another test be done (nurse wouldn't tell me what it was) so that was drawn too.

I spoke briefly with Debbie, who seems to be the head nurse, and she told me the CT scan won't be booked until "they" receive all the blood work results.  So soon I should be hearing about that appointment and hopefully the liver cancer specialist appointment.  I am hoping to get them done a few days apart so I can get the CT scan, head to Winnipeg, see the specialist, and fly back here all in one excursion.  I imagine I will have to do some phoning around to get that set up.

Last night, my husband was beginning to find out how much of a fatalist I am, because in my mind I'm assuming the tumour is cancer. I told him I'm preparing for the worst. He said I should hope for the best. I said "No, you have to prepare for the worst. That way then they tell you it's not cancer you're almost upset." "Because you spent all that energy preparing?" "Yeah!" He facepalmed at that point.

I also told him yesterday that the 5 year success rate for early stage liver cancer is 50% (which means that 50% of people in the early stage live at LEAST 5 years).  That's if it was a single tumour which was removed, with no cirrhosis or other major health concerns.  He started freaking out at that.  He then decided that like Han Solo, he never wants to hear the odds.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Liver Tumour

I originally posted this to Facebook, but not everyone gets updates from Facebook so I am updating the blog for those who need to get caught up and do not want to scroll forever to find the information on my page.  I'm even backdating this to when I posted it to Facebook (17 Nov @ 9p Central)

So people know I had an MRI a couple weeks ago. I didn't exactly keep that secret to people I've talked with recently. I did not tell most people it was for my liver. I talked with the Dr yesterday and he told me there's a "small spot of accelerated cellular growth" in a "benign" area of the liver. For those of you who don't speak biology, that means I have a small tumour in my liver. However, he thinks it's a hepatocellular adenoma which are benign (i.e., non-cancerous).

Today I received a call from the same Dr and he is referring me to a hematologist-oncologist in Winnipeg which, for those trying to keep up, is a liver cancer specialist. He also had a bunch of blood work done and is booking me for a CT scan.

tl;dr I have a tumour in my liver, but I have NOT been diagnosed with cancer. But we're investigating to be certain.

DON'T PANIC. plzkthx

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Mystery Package Clue #2 - A Trip To Mexico Goes Awry

Today I received a plain 6"x9" plain manila envelope. 

Inside were the following:


I'm pretty sure it's Cthulhu making people go insane and dying.  Norwegian Cthulhu.  Or something.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Mystery Package Clue #1 - The Norwegian comic page

I received a bright yellow business envelope addressed to me (no return address) and inside was this comic sheet in Norwegian and the post it note that is printed (despite looking hand written it is not). So far I've figured out the following:

Post It: Bratteli and Solberg are both Norwegian last names, not place names.

Comic front:
Panel 1: Do not scare the cat, Jens! He has not said a word in several days!
Panel 2: Is THIS what you saw?
Panel 3: IS it? *WHACK*

I included the back of the comic in case there are clues there. It's all in Norwegian and I haven't taken the time to translate it yet.

Sorry if the pages are ridiculously large on your screen.  I use a high resolution on my laptop and so the text was too small to read at smaller sizes.