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My first PET Scan

trainer's picture
Posts: 242
Joined: Sep 2008

A few weeks ago, I'd asked for input on what PET Scans are all about. Everyone was very helpful. So, I was coming back from a business trip yesterday and got a call on my cell from the imaging lab and they could take me this morning. So, wanting to get it over with, I did it this morning at 8. Big mistake. I was tired from the trip and am getting ready to leave the office now due to nausea.

The people couldn't have been nicer or more helpful there. However, I wasn't prepared for the 35 minutes of being in the machine with my arms and elbows held over my head. After some time, the arms started cramping, which was painful, as I was trying not to move, based on the operator's directions.

And about two hours after the scan, I experienced strong nausea. Is this common? It's strong enough that I'm going home from the office as soon as I post this.

I dread having another one in three months.

So, has anyone experienced this nausea and anyone have advice on avoiding the arm cramping?


Posts: 55
Joined: Sep 2007

Hi -
Sorry to hear about your experience with the Pet Scan. I personally haven't had a Pet scan, but have had a regular scan recently and because of an injured shoulder I couldn't raise my arms and keep them above my head for the time span, so I was allowed to put them at my sides for the scan. maybe next time you can suggest that. It was way more tolerable. I think the dye they inject can cause nausea, since I had dye with mine and went home after and slept it off.
It's not an easy test by any means, and I hope the results are what you want at least.
Take care and God Bless,

menright's picture
Posts: 258
Joined: Oct 2008

I had a PET scan a couple months ago with no nausea. I do know what you mean about the arm cramping. I have a sore right shoulder so keeping my arms above my head was painful. I am not sure what the nausea is about. I know you have to drink the contrast liquid but in my case it was flavored and not terrible.

Sorry to hear your report. Maybe the next one will not be so bad.

Good Luck.


dixchi's picture
Posts: 438
Joined: Jun 2008

I have not had any nausea with the PET scan and I have had four of them in the last 13 months.
But that is not to say that you can't get an upset stomach. I do have a nessed up rotator
cuff in one shoulder and also find it difficult to lay there with arms above my head; like
the suggestion that maybe you could ask if you could keep your arms at your side. Maybe
the arms above the head causes the chest area to show up better in the scan; you might ask

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Did you fly for your business trip? Was it hard work, the business you had?

I had 2 PET scans, and don't remember being nauseous...BUT, a CT scan with contrast can give me a histimine reaction, so it's hard to say...

I hope you feel better soon!

Hugs, Kathi

Buzzard's picture
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

I had one but because of a mix up in Drs scheduling it was 1 hour and 10 minutes after I had my port put in. I was still stupid from anesthesia and walked over to have the scan then back to have a chest exray to make sure that the lung wasn't punctured while inserting the port...I figure if they punctured a lung then I would pretty sure have died during the Pet scan...wouldn't that be something for em to figure out...Sometimes they get in a little bit of a hurry to get all of our money...............God Bless ya bud

trainer's picture
Posts: 242
Joined: Sep 2008

I did fly on the trip and it was one of those up late, up early each day trips, so I agree with you that it was too much too soon. I guess I was just anxious to move the checkup process along with no delays.

As soon as I went home, I went to bed and didn't get up until 10 p.m. So that was about a 10 hour crash. Nausea is gone, fortunately.

Are all these new photos of you from Holland? Are you still there?

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

This bald pic was from when I was in treatment. But the ones before, were Holland. It was drop-dead gorgeous there!!!! But cold, record cold...4 days it never broke freezing! We skated on the canal in front of the house...what a wierd feeling when the ice would crack...there was an unmistakable sound that went with it....

I'm glad the nausea is gone. I had the same thing happen, although not with a PET. I was being radiated daily for my breast cancer, had positioning scans for the last 'boost' days, AND had a CT with contrast, all on the same day. I could swear that I suffered minor radiation sickness...lol....

Otherwise, is everything well for you?

Hugs, Kathi

msccolon's picture
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

Your pic makes me want to search my hard drive for my bald ones and post!

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I have NO shame.....lol!!!!

Hugs, Kathi

trainer's picture
Posts: 242
Joined: Sep 2008

You're a superstar to all of us on this board, I would safely guess. Things are well, but yesterday was unpleasant with the crampy shoulders and arms plus nausea. I learned a lesson, in retrospect, I should have waited a couple of days. I had been on the road for two weeks with just one night at home. I used to like business travel, but no more. I did sleep 10 hours yesterday, but then that threw off my sleep routine, so I was up until 2:30 a.m. Back to the routine for me!

Other than doing a rather spectacular fall on a sidewalk under construction about a week ago, which resulted in seriously bruised ribs, I'm doing great. I was looking ahead, trying to figure out which building to go into, and got my feet tangled up in some chicken wire which effectively held me like a beartrap, and I flat out went down. What bruised my left lower ribs was my left hand that I put out to break the fall. What really pissed me off was I had on a blue suit and had to host and conduct a press conference later that morning and there were so much white construction dust that I kind of resembled Jacob Marley, Scrooge's business parter ghost in A Christmas Carol. Couldn't get it all out. Man, those ribs hurt! Still do. I did tell the PET scan people about the bruise because unfortunately it's on the same side as my resection. I understand bruised tissue can show up as false positives in PET scans.

We love the word "beau" that you use, so old-fashioned to describe your boyfriend. What all did you do in Holland? How are Americans regarded there? Time to get off and send this as the battery is about exhausted.

Get your beau to take photos that show something more than a minute, long distance photo!

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Sorry for the fall...and the resulting white powder for the press!!!! Take care of those ribs, they protect a special heart!

RE: Holland. We had bought tix before my beau's mom died, we always visit 2x per year (he is an only child, and his dad died the week before I started chemo in 2004). So, we left on Christmas day, arrived in Holland for Twede Kerstdag (2nd Christmas day). 3 days after arriving, a hard freeze came in. Turned the place into a winter wonderland. The canal I'm skating on in this pic is across the street from the house...during the summer, boats tie up here on their way to Germany and points east. This hasn't frozen solid enough for skating for 17 years.

It gets light late (9am or so) and dark early (4pm or so). It takes me a bit to adjust, but it is a grand place to be. The house is out of the city a ways, surrounded by fields. We spent time at the swap meets, and visiting with friends. We are setting up to live there for 6 months and America for the other 6 months each year. Probably, tho, Christmas will be in California...at least, if my beau gets his wish (I would rather be in Holland...lol).

Europeans, in general, think pretty well of Americans. The dutch are VERY friendly, and will switch to English if they sense you can't understand dutch. All of Europe is smitten with Obama, it's all I heard about....

RE: my beau...lol...tried all sorts of words...boyfriend (I'm too old to have one), partner (left people wondering what sex), husband (he's not...rofl). Beau seems to fit well...he still doesn't have a good term for me, though, even after 17 1/2 years...well, except when he's mad...and I DO understand dutch....LOL!!!

Take care of you, and thank you for allowing me to revisit my trip!

Hugs, Kathi

MoonDragon's picture
Posts: 194
Joined: Jun 2005

I dread them too! I hate the slightly metallic taste that hits right after being injected with the radiation. I've never been sick, though. I ALWAYS have to fidgit during a scan. Of course being told to keep my hands over my head and not move means I'll of course need to itch my nose or scratch my leg!!

Mike49's picture
Posts: 269
Joined: Nov 2008

I know what you mean about the arms. I used the center at 20th street and Glendale and they were nice and no nausea, but wow staying still is tough. Hang in there man, maybe you packed too much in.


CherylHutch's picture
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Hmmm... I've had two PET scans and not even an inkling of nausea. I'm not sure what contrasting dye folk are talking about since I didn't have any dye with the PET. They give the radioactive glucose stuff, but that is such a tiny amount and it is given interveneously, and then you have to be quiet and rest for an hour before going into the scan machine.

I have a sore right shoulder, but once we got the arms placed (prior to going into the machine) above my head and resting comfortably, I didn't have any problems. If I recall, when I told them this last time about my sore shoulder, they got a small pillow and put it under my hands so my arms/hands were more level with my shoulder and that seemed to do the trick. Of course, once the scan was finished, then we had to slowly bring the arms, one at a time, back to a normal position so as not to aggravate the shoulder.

I wonder if the nausea was just a combination of nerves (since you were a little bit nervous about having it done) and exhaustion from being away from home and then rushing to have it done first thing in the morning when you got home? Next one, you might want to make sure that you are in town the day before and get to bed at a decent hour so you aren't tired for the next day's scan. Just a suggestion, since I'm not sure that there's anything about the scan that would actually cause nausea. I do know there have been times when I have been sooooo tired, I've felt sick... and that's usually just a total lack of sleep.



maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

I too have only had one PET and had no nausea. I remember being quite unsure of the whole process and nervous so was quite drained feeling afterwards.
I'll bet now you know the procedure it will be easier.

Best wishes,

Posts: 75
Joined: May 2008

I have had two only, but no nausea with either. I wanted to mention that before my pets I was told to do no physical activity the day before and to eat a high protein meal the night before. With your short notice, I wonder if you got good instructions. If you get any weird results, I would be sure to mention "how you prepped" for the scan and see if it caused anything weird to show up. Just a thought.

I would lean to a bug from that airline trip and not the pet scan.

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