Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Catscan Day

Yesterday I left my house at 5a to go to my 7:15a catscan appointment at MDA. When I arrived at MDA and received my schedule and it turned out they had bumped all my appointments until later in the day. I didn't mind too much but did feel sorry for my friend who drove me. MDA is usually pretty good about working you in though. I got through the blood work quickly and then moved on to the xray department. When they were checking me in it turns out there was a block on my account. Then the fight began. I went to the business office and discovered that the insurance company refused to pay for the upper scan that measured the size of my tumor. What really irritated me was that this is one of the most important tests I will take and when MDA entered the test into the computer they saw my account was blocked. Instead of calling me to let me know what was going on they let me drive from Beaumont in the pouring down rain to find out I may be sent home empty handed. When I spoke with the business office I offered to pay for the test myself but she refused. My main concern was what if the insurance company refused to pay? I needed the test done, I would pay for it, end of story. They should schedule it and work it out with insurance later. She and I exchanged words and then I got on the phone with the insurance company. Apparently the doctors at the insurance company and the doctors at MDA were having a hard time reaching one another. They needed to discuss the test before the insurance company could approve the claim. Long story short, after 30 minutes of trying I was able to set up a phone meeting with the doctors. If the people at MDA didn't know me before today they do now.

By 11a everything was sorted out and my xray began. This xray was just a regular chest xray to make sure nothing has grown in my lungs. Then, I went to the catscan department. They call you in a room and allow you to pick the flavor of barium you'll be choking down. They had apple, banana, orange and berry. The nurse said berry is usually the flavor everyone chooses so I went with that one. It was much worse than muscle milk. It makes me shake every time I drink it. They give you 1 hour to drink about 20 ounces of barium and then it's time to either get an IV or get your PICC flushed in preparation for receiving the contrast. Luckily, I had my PICC so they were able to add the contrast through that instead of giving me an IV. They called me back, prepared my PICC for the contrast and then gave me another hour to drink 20 more ounces of barium. When this hour is up they lay you flat on a table and then shoot barium up your rectum. They have a machine that is shaped like a donut and is about 2 feet wide. Your entire body isn't covered by the machine, but the table goes through the donut while it's taking pictures of your body. You first do the test without contrast and then they add the contrast to your PICC/IV. As soon as they add contrast to your body you can feel the heat all the way to your toes. It doesn't hurt, but everything gets hot. The contrast and the barium work together to light up your body, without it your body would be dark during the scan and the doctors wouldn't be able to see anything. The contrast goes through your entire system while the barium lights up the parts of your body connected to digestion. Together, your entire body is lit up and gives the doctors a better visual.

For me personally, it makes my sugar level go up and gives me some stomach problems. Now, I'm in the waiting period. I have a 4p appointment with my oncologist on Monday the 4th to receive the results. Please pray for a good outcome.

"If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. If I should say, "My foot has slipped," Thy lovingkindess, O Lord, will hold me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Thy consolations delight my soul." Psalm 94:17-19

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