On Monday I went to the hospital to get a CT scan. In February and March I had severe back/side pain for about 4 weeks that coincided with the beginning of my Velcade chemo treatment. During this period I was bedridden on prescription pain-killers as I wondered whether this was related to my chemo treatment, pharm cancer, generic or was just random. To better understand why this may have occurred, my cancer specialist ordered a CT scan of my thoracic spine.
When I arrived I was handed a questionnaire with some pertinent questions prior to the administration of I.V. contrast by the CT technician (e.g. Do you have any blood disorders such as multiple myeloma or sickle cell anaemia? Have you ever had a previous injection of contrast (X-Ray dye)?). For me, the answer to both questions was yes as I have multiple myeloma and spent 12 days in hospital in 2009 when I contracted TTP (a rare blood disorder) and suffered a stroke in my visual cortex. In order to assess the extend of the damage to my visual cortex, I had a CT scan at that time.
After handing over my questionnaire, a CT technician tried to put an I.V. in my arm. I have had alot of blood tests and always use my left arm where there is a good vein. Unfortunately, this time there was difficulty and after multiple attempts by 2 different technicians in both arms (even warming my arms didn’t help), they called in someone I refer to as “The Wolf”. In Pulp Fiction “The Wolf” is a character that solves problems, in the hospital I was at, they are someone that solves problem I.V.s. This person has a pager and they are called when there are patients that have extremely difficult veins and repeated attempts at starting an I.V. have been unsuccessful. Thankfully my I.V. was started without any difficulty and I was led into the room with the CT machine.
There I lay down on the bench with my arms extended behind my head. The technician injected the x-ray contrast (x-ray dye) into my I.V. as this fluid in necessary to enable my specialist to see in the x-ray images my blood flow and blood vessels more easily. The injection took about 5 minutes after which I was told to lie still while the machine took pictures of my thoracic spine.
In five days my specialist will receive the images, although they are accessible if needed after about 10 minutes. Although the process took 90 min, I’m happy that it was done and I’m staying optimistic that I don’t have any permanent damage to my spine.