Note: This blog entry should have been written in JULY. The causes of my delay are many and for the hope of actually getting this DONE before next July, I shall not bother with listing them.
If you are a reader of Kevin's blog or you know Kevin or you know someone who knows someone who knows Kevin, then you know that Kevin was diagnosed last July with prostate cancer. (And, if you are a reader of Kevin's blog or you know Kevin or you know someone who knows someone who knows Kevin, then you must have been wondering why six months have gone by without the fact of that cancer appearing in my blog. Again, the reasons are legion.) Finally, if you are a reader of Kevin's blog or you know Kevin or you know someone who knows someone who knows Kevin, then you are probably expecting I'll open my soul to examine what this cancer means to him and to me and to Zupe. But,
you'd be wrong.
It might happen one day. That day isn't today.
Today the topic is nuclear medicine, scintigraphy, bone scans.
And horse pee.
After Kevin "failed" his forth or fifth PSA test, though just barely, his urologist recommended a biopsy. The biopsy was positive for cancer. Widespread cancer. Widespread but rather private cancer.
The next step was to look for evidence that the cancer was adventurous and had set up camp in areas outside the prostate - in particular, in his bones. I went with Kevin to his biopsy appointment - though not into the surgery to view the biopsy process. I did not go with Kevin to not watch the bone scan.
I didn't need to. I used to do, or at least assist in the doing of, bone scans.
I was the bucket girl.
We weren't looking for cancer in bones. We were just looking for increased "activity" in bone suggestive of inflammation or damage. In horses. The process would be the same. An intravenous injection of a radioactive nucleotide (something like the bone cell equivalent of a case of radioactive Big Macs) is made and then an hour or so later a series of "magic photos' are taken of the bones looking to see if those nucleotides are congregating. They should spread themselves out evenly (to feed the masses), but if a localized area of bone is particularly "hungry" because there is an injury that is inflamed or it is harboring a tumor, then those microscopic radioactive Big Macs will be absorbed at a greater rate. (If you are confused and you want to understand the process, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_medicine.)
Did I mention the process involves making an intravenous injection of a radioactive substance? That means into the blood. And, where does the blood go? It goes everywhere. Including the kidneys. And, then the bladder. And, then potentially the floor.
Which is why you need a bucket girl.
Yes. For a summer I "caught" radioactive horse urine.
Boy, do I know how to have fun!
So, I didn't go with Kevin. I didn't get to meet his bucket girl. Though, maybe they just asked him not to pee on the floor. He's pretty good about that.
(And, if you are not a reader of Kevin's blog, or someone who knows Kevin, or someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows Kevin, then I should tell you here that the scan was negative. There was no evidence that the cancer had spread into the bone. This is very, very, very good news.)