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Monday, November 7th, 2005

What Was It Like?

My Mum and Dad both emailed me (Dad was traveling) to congratulate me on the PET scan results, which was a little embarrassing because I posted in my blog before I called to tell them. Dad also called on Saturday.

Although I described the PET scan testing down at the subatomic level and included some calculated physics, I apparently was very skimpy in my description of what it felt like. People who know me would nod and think “typical” about this. Dad and others have asked about it, and I promised to post a picture of the machine. So here it is, boosted from the Siemens site:

Siemens Ecat Accel PET scanner

I lay on the sliding bed part, which is 195 cm long – exactly my height, and there was some concern prior to the exam about whether I would fit. They asked me whether I was more than 17 inches across at my shoulders, and it turned out I was 18 1/2 inches, but upon consultation, the technicians had said I should fit. It turned out to be a little awkward, though – when I was slid through the aperture on a dry run, my elbows hit the sides and were squeezed in. On the actual run, when my arms first entered the hole, I had to clench them up against my body so that they would be in the same position once my elbows entered the ring. It was a little uncomfortable, and it took maybe twenty minutes to half an hour from the time my hands entered to the time my elbows were up against the sides and I could just relax. That’s a long time when you’re trying to lie completely motionless.

The technician explained that I could move the parts of my body that weren’t in the actual hole, but I figured that too much movement could lead to small distortions, so I limited myself to relaxing my arms beforehand and wriggling my feet a little afterwards.

I reported earlier that I was disappointed but not surprised that the viewing software that came in the mail was pretty limited, but since then I have played with it a but and found that the tools and buttons give a little more functionality than I first thought. There’s just no help files to tell you how to do this. The image I posted can actually rotate around the vertical axis in a sequence of 32 images, which looks pretty cool, and the moving view makes the whole thing look a lot more detailed than the single image. You can see many bones and internal organs quite clearly. Still, although I found a “Save As” function for each image, the extracted image is horribly crippled as far as resolution goes. I wanted to extract all the images and make an animated gif for posting. I guess I’m back to hacking the images out of the data files. However, this might make a gif too large for posting – maybe I’ll try the extracted version first.

Posted by Greg in Family & Friends, Melanoma, Posts About Me

3 Comments »

This entry was posted on Monday, November 7th, 2005 at 16:14 PST and is filed under Family & Friends, Melanoma, Posts About Me. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to “What Was It Like?”

  1. Ramblings » Blog Archive » Mysterious Lump Update says:

    […] Mysterious Lump Update Yesterday morning I was back at RMG for another PET scan, just six months after my last one, to investigate the lump I found in my chest.[…]

  2. Ramblings » Blog Archive » The PET Scan Experience says:

    […] I even had to be prompted to write about the experience from the perspective of a patient, not a huge construct of subatomic particles. […]

  3. Polly says:

    Email me. I edited your gif and made it 347k.