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How COLD is it while you wait before a PET scan?

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I was reading about PET scan procedures so I'd be ready for mine tommorrow, as I've never had a PET-scan. I read that you may have to lie still an hour as the contrast works its way through your body before the scan. I hate to be cold, and those rooms are always freezing. My worry is that I will involuntarily shiver during the scan if I have to lay there getting colder and colder for an hour. When my adreneline is up (fear, anxiety) I have experienced jumpy muscles before and I know that it is important to be very sstill during a PET scan. Would it be inappropriate for me to bring along my thick fuzzy robe to cover myself while I wait? Or isn't it really that cold? Can someone please share their experience so I know what it'll be like? THANKS!

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1226
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Linda:

I recently had two PET Scans. One in July and most recently the end of October. I was scared at first but I had two techs who were extremely nice. For each of my PET Scans, the first thing you have to do is the night before do not have sugar and a low carb diet. Because your body burns sugar, it will cause a "Glow" on the scans. Cancer also loves sugar and it will glow because it is active.

When you go in, they will have you drink something that tastes and looks like crystal light. However, they will put a catheter in you (that's really the only uncomfortable thing about this test). You will also have an iv inserted. Then a tech will take you to a locked room where the ions(or whatever they are called) are. He will inject through the iv these ions that have sugar mixed in. (if there is active cancer, then this will make them glow). Then you go into a quiet room (they will put on warm blankets) the room is dark. You cannot read or do anything since even moving your eyes or chewing can make your muscles move. If your muscles move, they will glow because they are active. You have to stay quiet for about 45 minutes. During that time you will have another drink. After that you will go directly to the scan room and once settled will start immediately.

The scan part is actually very easy. They first do the CT part (with the contrast). (And it is not as bad as a regular CT Scan)(However, you still get the same feeling). After that, is the PET scan. Each segment takes anywhere to 3 to 5 minutes and there are four or five segments. (head, chest, abd, pe, etc.)

Make sure they put a pillow under your knees before the scan. It is more comfortable. After the scan, they come in and remove everything.

It took me longer with my first PET scan because I kept shaking because I was nervous. The ion guy really took time and explained everything. Have them put another warm blanket on you when you are in the quiet room.

I hope this helps you, Linda.

Kathy

PS I will be at Cleveland Clinic on Monday for my second opinion.

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1226
Joined: Nov 2009

Linda:

I will be thinking of you tomorrow and hope that your nerves will be settled and that you can get this test over with. Make sure you talk with the ion person and have them explain everything.

Prayers and blessings to you!

Kathy

california_artist's picture
california_artist
Posts: 860
Joined: Jan 2009

Good Morning, Linda,

Bring your own blanket if you like. If they won't let you use it, they have nice warm blankets to keep you comfy. The really surprising thing to me was that you can't read while you wait. I was put in a very comfortable reclining chair in a completely dark room. They don't even want your mind to be active. Really slow all your activities today. No exercise at all! There are some other caveats, I've forgotten what they were, I imagine they gave you a list. The hope is that by following the rules, the fewest possible cells will be active anywhere in your body. The tube is pretty close, but my attitude was, if I didn't feel great with the closeness when I opened my eyes, if I just shut my eyes and relaxed, I could pretend I was anywhere. It was really a very relaxing, easy experience. Be sure to ask for a pillow for under your knees or where ever you would like. I don't care for a pillow under my head. Just be sure you're comfy and don't think while you're waiting. hehehehehehehe. Like that's going to happen, ever.

Mine was in a portable. If yours is in an installed unit, you may have more options to keep you happy. If you are nervous, mention it ahead of time and they are able to give you something. I did have a nerve pill the first time and not the second. I enjoyed the second one more. Once I realized all was well if I closed my eyes, it was really easy after that. The scar tissue on my abdomen did show some activity, but the reader was bright enough to mention it was in line with surgery.

You will do fine. Nothing is painful and people are always nice. They figure if you need a PET/CT you have enough things to worry about and nothing to loose if they're mean to you and you decide to hurt them.

What time is your scan? Let me know and I'll be thinking happy reassuring thoughts for you.
If anything does light up--think infection first. Someone recommended a study for bacteria regarding the bowel issues. I agree that might be a first attempt at a fix if there is a problem.

Anyway, love and kisses, cute little red haired girl,

Claudia

When I just came back here, Kalene had made a longer post and mentioned a catheter. I didn't have that, so I don't know if that's standard in other places.

lociee's picture
lociee
Posts: 103
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi Linda, relax! It's not like that. Okay - first they take you into a small room with a comfy chair - similar to those chemo chairs. They inject the contrast die quickly. You sit in your comfy chair (in a nice warm sweater - they keep that part of the hospital a bit on the chilly side because of the machines) reading, knitting, etc. for about an hour. Then a really nice person comes in and asks you to change into the usual hospital pants, 2 robes (one on backwards/one front) I think if you have something with no metal you can wear that. Of course you remove all metal. Then my favorite part. I gather my favorite soft scarf and I'm ready. Oh.... they leave a port in your arm to add more contrast die when you're about half way through. Okay.... you get up on the thing that goes into the tube - this is very much like an MRI - hence the scarf. Before you lie down take the scarf and put it across your eyes. Make sure your nose is not covered. Then tuck the scarf in nicely - then ask for a blanket - or you could tell them before hand that you will require a blanket. They have blankets and you can use as many as you want! You will not be cold! The actual time in the tube is shorter than the MRI. As long as you are cuddled up in blankets and have your soft blindfold on, you'll be fine. There are microphones to talk back and forth - and they give you a cord with a button to push if you're freaking out. About 1/2 or 3/4 of the way in - they will pull you out and inject some of the die - you get a weird feeling - sort of warm - but it passes in a few seconds. Then back in the tube for about 10 minutes. Now.... to make this really tolerable I take a lorazapam about an hour or 45 minutes before show time. It totally relaxes me. Last week when I had one - I think I may have fallen asleep because suddenly I heard myself snoring! If you don't have lorazapam - ask your doctor for something to relieve anxiety. I take it because of the tube - I don't like the idea of being in a tube - hence the scarf - I could go without the lorazapam before I could go without the blindfold!
Well..... I hold this helps. It's not so bad. A year ago I could not imagine saying that, but we've all been through so much that unfortunately this stuff is just becoming routine. Last week I had an 8am PET - got out and went to work. It was like a stop off on my way to work. It's now laaadee, da, I think I'll stop here and get a PET scan.
Okay, I may be simplifying this - but the most important things are cozy, soft scarf - and a few blankets - and you have control of those!
Let me know how it goes - and if you have any more questions.
Good Luck, Mia

Songflower's picture
Songflower
Posts: 632
Joined: Apr 2009

I had my PET/CT in a big truck! It is portable and used between several hospitals. I don't remember being cold at all. I also took a lorezepam before to keep me calm; I had some left over from chemo treatment. It definitely helps.

DIANE

TiggersDoBounce's picture
TiggersDoBounce
Posts: 413
Joined: Oct 2009

Hello Miss Linda :)

I had my PET Scan the day after my Hysterectomy. The only discomfort I had was getting on the damn table...those Laparoscopic punctures hurt on Day 1...

They injected thru my IV the contrast solution. They left me in a quiet room and when I told the technicican "do you have anything I can read?", he told me...no way, you are not supposed to be stimulating anything...

The scan is comparable to a CAT Scan...I actually was so relaxed, I began to doze and moved my arm (involuntarily), he told me thru the microphone not to move.

If the room feels cold when you get there, tell them to send down a warming blanket for you.

Please let us know how it goes...sending hugs and prayers for you!

Laurie

deanna14
Posts: 738
Joined: Oct 2008

If taking your robe will make you feel more comfortable, I think you should take it with you! They gave me some warm blankets while in the "quiet room."
I have my 3 month CT scan on Wednesday... still makes me nauseous just thinking about it. I guess it always will...
Good luck. As always you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

I've had 2. They give you plenty of warmed blankets and I was given ear phones with my choice of music to listen to during procedure. You might want to bring an ipod or something to listen to while you are in the tube.

But fear not. It's not bad. And you will be home before you know it!

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

PETs have a different solution - radioactive sugar water! You may not be allergic.

california_artist's picture
california_artist
Posts: 860
Joined: Jan 2009

Do you remember drinking something first too for the CT part of the PET/CT?

deanna14
Posts: 738
Joined: Oct 2008

I remember having to drink the contrast that they mix with Crystal Light. I also recieved the IV tracer(for the PET) and had contrast rectally, as with each of my CT scans. It is such and joy... and leaves me feeling bloated and nauseated for a good part of my day! :) But I will continue to do them with a smile on my face... praying that they continue to be NEGATIVE!

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

I remember drinking lots of water BEFORE going in for the test. I don't remember drinking any contrast. Just remember the IVs - they inserted the sugar water or whatever first and then followed later with the radioactive agent. And of course I rememeber the catheter. Don't remember them giving me anything to drink there. Linda, what did they do with you?

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