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PET scan

sunshine58
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 2014

My mom  who is 86 yrs, will be getting her first PET scan next Monday.  She has already had 3 MRI's, with no reaction, but I"m wondering if anyone has had any reactions to a PET scan, during or after the scan.   The Doctor's recommend drinking alot of fluids after the scan, to flush out the radiation, but my mom has never been a fan of drinking just plain water.  Would really like to  know anyone's experience with a PET scan.   She was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma a couple of weeks ago.   Prior to that, she was pretty healthy for her age,  except she had shingles a year ago, and has macular degeneration.   

dennycee
Posts: 836
Joined: Mar 2011

Your mom needs the fluids to flush the radioactive sugars in the tracer through her system to prevent damage to the kidneys.  Ask the technician what other fluids are acceptable.  I've had 13 CTs and 2 PET scans without incident.  I hope your moms goes well. 

sunshine58
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 2014

Thankyou, dennycee, for your reply.  Mom has had a few kidney infections in the past so I will make sure to support her in drinking plenty of fluids  after the PET scan.   She is also scheduled for an MRI the following day.   For the past two weeks, she has been through so many tests; she said she felt like she was going through hell.....blood tests, chest tubes, xrays, scans, etc.  and we will finally hear the oncologists prognosis for staging and mestatis, next Thursday.   I feel for anyone who has to go through all this.   It's so stressful on top of knowing that you're diagnosed with cancer.   My daughter told me about this site, and its been a huge blessing for support. 

sunshine58
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 2014

My mother who is 86 yrs old, was scheduled to have PET scan, and MRI (with contrast) one day apart.  Sunday night, she ate her last protein meal and began the water diet all the way up to 11am this morning.  She waited all morning for the scedulers to call her and confirm the appointment for the PET scan; the hospital finally calls and tells her that her insurance is still waiting for approval of the PET scan and that she would NOT be having it done, until further notice.   She is sceduled to have the MRI with contrast, tomorrow.  I (her daughter) have been the only one to inform her of the risks of kidney problems, from the solution used for the PET and contrast dye.   She has had some kidney infections in the past, and we are both concerned that it may not be the best thing to have done, in spite of the oncologist wanting to test for diagnosing to determine IF and where the adenocarcinoma (lung) has spread and for staging.  It seems to me she may need to get a second opinion and perhaps consider another oncologist.   I can't beleive they allowed mom to go through the preparation of not eating and the oncologist not informing her of the risks of the tests to her kidneys.    She IS 86 years old and was generally healthy up until she was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the lung.   She thought she had pneumonia, because her wbc was elevated and was running a low grade fever.  Then, the fluid on the lungs began giving her problems.  The chest Xrays and  MRI's confirmed that she had a "dark spot" on her left lung and she was advised to see an oncologist.   Her decision to go with a local oncologist was based on convenience since she cannot drive, and my brother and I are working.    

dennycee
Posts: 836
Joined: Mar 2011

How very irritating and frustrating for you both.  Try to arrange the second opinion.  If done at a teaching hospital at one of the NIH/NCCN affiliates you could have them follow the treatment plan recommendations at your local hospital.  An acquaintance of mine was on a trial for brain tumor.  He had to fly to Texas at MD Anderson to be admitted but treatment was administered here in Michigan.  

I will post the list of affiliates in a moment.  

dennycee
Posts: 836
Joined: Mar 2011

2nd opinion at one of these would be good.  

http://cancercenters.cancer.gov/cancer_centers/index.html

sunshine58
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 2014

thankyou, dennycee.   I"m so frustrated right now.  thankyou for replying.  It's been almost a month since my mom found out she was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the lung, and all I know is she has a growth on her left lung, don't know the size, or if it has spread anywhere else in the body, and her oncologist told her it was her choice whether she wanted to seek treatment or not.  Today she and my brother met with her oncologist for the results of the MRI with contrast dye of the brain.   Unfortunately, I didn't get off work in time to meet with them so I got the information from my brother.  Her brain scan showed no cancer; hallelujah!  But, they need to drain more fluid from her lung again, and her oncologist said they will test the fluid this time.  Why the heck didn't they do that the first or second time, which was 3 weeks ago.  I read all this information on hear from people that know waht size their tumor is, etc. and I hardly know anything.   Sometimes I feel like my mom is holding back information.  As far as I know, mom has signed a release for the Doc to give family information.   It's just difficult for me to set up a time with her oncologist or regular Doctor because they're too busy or I"m working.   Mom seems like she's giving up.  After talking to her today, it seems she doesn't want to try chemo, radiation, or any kind of therapy and I respect that but how risky is surgery on one lung?  It's not that evasive is it?  Either mom's not getting enough information from her oncologist or she is confused and not telling me everything.    I don't want her to give up and I"m NOT giving up but she's very stubborn.    I'm stressing out.  I'm a caretaker for a CDS client in the morning who has several health issues and also work with a client in the afternoon.   When I get off work, the rest of the day is spending time with mom.   I don't know if its just me or does everyone feel the frustration, sadness, confusion, feeling like they should know more, etc?  

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 281
Joined: Mar 2011

It's possible that depending on how your mom came through the kidney infections, her function may be such that risk of kidney damage from the contrast is no larger for her than it would be to the average person. They will definitely be looking at kidney function before they do the PET (if in fact they're going to do it now). I'm trying to think back on how big a warning they gave me, and I don't think it was all that big. Beyond just looking at the blood kidney chemistries, all I can remember is them telling me to drink like a fish for quite awhile after the test was over. That's usually when the big warning comes in, and if she has the test done, I would say it's a really good idea to supervise her intake until you're sure she has pounded a WHOLE LOT of water.

Regarding lung surgery (which I was unable to have), it can be invasive, with a recovery that's not a day at the beach. Again, never had it myself, and there are different procedures, but I've read stories of people having less than an easy time of it. Her advanced age could complicate any treatment, but older people do undergo this stuff with success.

And finally, you are definitely not alone when it comes to feeling that there's a lot of information to know, and that you only understand a tiny fraction of it at any time. Hang in there; best of luck to Mom!

sunshine58
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 2014

Thankyou, Ex rock n roller!  It's so comforting to listen to others comments.  Finally things are on a roll for mom.  She had her MRI with contrast dye last Thursday of the brain, and it was good.  So far the nasty little cancer cells hadn't gone there.  And I was told they tested her kidney function a few days prior to the MRI and it was acceptable.  Her insurance finally approved her PET scan, she's having it done in the morning so she is forcing down water as much as she can and following the high protein diet.  She will be getting her lung drained again for the 3rd time and they said they will be testing the fluid, which I don't understand why they didn't do that the first time they drained her lung, but anyway,  mom is hanging in there and has a fairly good attitude for someone going through this at her age.  All I can do is support and love her and respect her decisions right now.   Dad passed away 8 years ago with prostate cancer, and she became very independent and tough after that.   As far as getting a second opinion, mom feels comfortable with her oncologist and wants to stay local, but it is frustrating to me at times.  As for right now, mom said she doesn't want to go through surgery, chemo, or radiation and I can't blame her for someone at her age.  Thanks again for your comments.

sunshine58
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 2014

Well, my brother and I are headed to the clinic with mom to supposedly getting all the results of tests today.  I'm hoping and praying the oncologist is up front with accurate facts and will honestly answer any questions or suggestions we have.   Mom was initially diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the lung a month and half ago.  I"m concerned about her oxygen level.  She kept saying her oxygen level was good but she hasn't had it checked since she was in the hospital for the talc pleurodesis.  It wasn't succesful either.  They've had to drain her lung twice since she's had that done.   Mom  hasn't felt well since then.   She doesn't want company.   Her appetite isn't as good as it was a couple of weeks ago.

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