RadioactivityI’m told the FDG injected into my arm vein this morning has a half-life of two hours, so the health risk I posed to the friend I met for lunch was pretty minor. He probably didn’t even notice the positrons I was still emitting.
Is in the air for you and me
Discovered by Madame Curie
Tune in to the melody
--”Radioactivity” by Kraftwerk
Radiation-wise, PET/CT is a double-whammy that subjects patients not only to a drug tagged with a radioactive isotope (fluorine-18), but also to a dose of conventional x-rays. If you didn’t have cancer coming in, your odds are marginally better that you will after you leave. Depending on its dosage (and other factors), radiation has the perverse capacity to both cure and cause cancer. I’ve endured the unpleasantries of radiation therapy already. The additional exposure of a half-dozen PET/CT scans is probably not worth quibbling over. And then there are those whole-body and chest CTs I've had...
It’s been almost five months since I’ve been anywhere near a hospital or clinic, so today’s visit was a bad reminder of my recent past. I’ve learned that my anxiety over a recurrence is a battle I’ll likely never win. I figured that by now I would have planted a flag of conquest, and found a way to face follow-up scans fearlessly. Sadly not. I’ll be in a strange place mentally until I hear results from today’s exam. That should happen no later than Tuesday, when I have an appointment with Dr. Curti in Portland.
My comfort is that God knows that it can be scary to be human. He sustains me even when anxiety comes in wave after wave. Nevertheless, I expect to sleep soundly tonight in the knowledge that this day was his from start to finish, and that he’s never left my side—regardless of how I perceive what’s happening in and around me. There's room for two inside even a PET scanner.
As the psalmist has written, so I praise God:
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:9-11)