This will be the second scan since I started the research program where I am enrolled in a clinical study of an experimental drug. The drug company sponsoring this stage two clinical trial is Bayer…Yep that’s right, the aspirin people! They have a very extensive research program to develop new promising drugs and I am excited to be contributing to the research.
I will explain the trial in more detail in another post but for this post I just wanted to walk through the CT (computed tomography) scan, or better known as the “cat scan”
The purpose of today’s scan is to check on the progress of the experimental drug to see if it is doing what it is designed to do and that is to prevent the cancer cells from reproducing. A good result would show tumors shrinking, a sure sign that the drug is doing its intended work. The first scan in this trial I showed amazing results, 10% to 20% shrinkage of several tumors exciting results indeed.
With the CT scan scheduled for 10:00 am the first order of business starts early. I’m up a 8:00 am to drink half a bottle of Barium Sulfate Suspension. the name sounds bad but by adding a little chocolate syrup it’s not too bad. Then at 9:30, drink the rest of the bottle and head of to the oncologists office. Once there, They have me drink one more 12 oz. glass.
I’m instructed to remove my necklace and take all metal out of my pockets and climb up onto the moving table that moves me through the tunnel of the machine. Once on the table the radiologists lines my body up properly and makes a trial run through the tunnel then we begin. The newer CT scan machines are much faster than the one’s built-in the 90’s. Back then a scan took an hour or more to complete. Today my complete scan will take approximately 15 minutes. “Take a deep breath and hold it” a quick movement through the tunnel and the recorded voice say’s “release you breath” a couple of times doing that routine then the radiologists come in and puts a needle in my arm so she can pump iodine into my blood. The purpose of the iodine is for contrast, when the X-rays takes the pictures slices, the Iodine makes the tumors stand out so that they can be measured more accurate and also to see if any new tumors have developed. The flow of iodine is a strange feeling and as it flows into my blood I get a warm sensation in my groin area. again the recorded voice comes on and says “breath in, breath out, breath in and hold it” I slide quickly through the tunnel and then it all over. Pretty painless and quick. The only thing I hate about the CT scan is that all the Barium sulfate that I drank travels through your system pretty quickly and I find myself headed for the bathroom.
The results of the scan will be ready in a day or two so I am given an appointment than to see the oncologist to go over the results. A sort of report card to see how effective the drug is so far.