Thursday, February 19, 2015

CTscan and Results

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Well, I was going to start today's blog with the intent on first walking you through my CT scan experience. However, between the intermittent pain as a constant reminder that something is wrong and a call from Dr. Patel, my gastroenterologist, this morning has been very emotionally and mentally challenging. In fact, I feel like I've been jumped by a thief in the night, kicked in the face, and left to pick myself back up.

So, rather than struggling through this blog post, with the heavy weight of test results blocking my literary flow, I thought an attempt to chase the white elephant out of the room by delivering my CT scan results first may unshackle my brain. goes. As mentioned, the gastroenterologist called early this morning with the CT scan results. He said the mass is very large, measuring at least 9 centimeters. Additionally, lymph nodes were also enlarged, indicating that it has likely spread. His recommendation was that we see what the surgical oncologist says next Wednesday, after which we can formulate a plan to move forward.

I have to admit, despite breathing into and out of this news, I'm somewhat devastated. I'm at a point in my life where some things were starting to come together personally and professionally that could change the future for my family by providing long term financial stability. Now everything seems to be in shambles and I'm not sure what to make of the mess. For today, after this post, I'm going to pick myself up, bang out some DDPYoga, and recharge mentally and emotionally. If you're not familiar with DDPYoga, it's a home workout program on dvd, designed and developed by former pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page. I love it. It combines strength training using dynamic resistance, cardio, and stretching/flexibility into one workout. Be warned though..."It's not your mama's yoga!" check it out at

Alright, let's get on with it shall we? My CT scan experience. So, upon checking in at the diagnostic center, within maybe 10 minutes, I was escorted back to a small waiting room by a young nurse or technician. As I sat down, she mentioned that she needed me to have 2 drinks, containing barium, which enhances the imaging capability. The drinks were similar to a loose yogurt with slight smoothie consistency, and were berry flavored. Well...kinda berry flavored! I'm sure the manufacturer had good intent on making the drinks more pleasant, but they fell a little short! Anyway, they weren't horrible, but I wasn't exactly like a kid in a candy store hyped up on sugar and wanting more either!

So, after consuming the drinks, I essentially had to wait about an hour before the procedure could be performed. So, as I sat in this small waiting room, by myself, I connected to the facility's WiFi and jumped on Facebook to pass the time. Man...I was floored by the outpouring of support, prayers, and well wishes from friends and acquaintances. So much so, that my eyes began to swell with tears. At this point I was caught off guard by a personal Facebook message from an old high school friend, Matt Allison. Actually I was friends with Matt, who graduated two years ahead of me, and his brother Todd who graduated a year behind me. We all played sports and had a good comradery. Matt by the way, is a career United States Army Officer, Captain maybe...I can't remember. Anyway, Matt, if you're reading this, first of all, thank you for your service. Secondly, thank you for your kind words and pep talk, as I sat in this small room by myself, full of emotion and feeling like the walls were closing in on me, I was able to fight back the tears and focus on the task and battle ahead of me.

Okay, back to the story, right?! The hour wait is approaching and the nurse/technician came to get me and escorted me to the CT room. It was a small, comfortable room, with a really cool ceiling that was like looking through real fall trees and up to a bright blue sky. They obviously do this to help relax patients while they procedure is performed. The actual CT machine looks much simpler than you would think. Although very technically advanced, it resembles a thick ring in which you pass through as you're lying on a table. My CT order included contrast, so at the beginning of the procedure, the nurse inserts a catheter or IV. She instructed me that the first couple of images would be without contrast, after which she would come out, inject the dye and run me back through for a few more images.

The first few images were conducted and quite honestly, it's really simple and easy. You basically just lye on the table, relax, and as the table passes into the CT unit, which again is just a ring like structure, you're instructed to breath in and hold it for maybe 4 seconds and breath. Easy. Simple. Now it was time for the contrast, so the nurse came out and told me that as the dye is injected that I would start to feel warm all over. She wasn't kidding! Not to scare you, but it feels like someone just dropped a match in a pool of fuel and you just happened to be standing really, really close! Okay, in all seriousness, it's not like you're on fire, but there's a definite intense, super warm feeling that overtakes your body and for a couple of seconds you may panic and worry that you're not going to be able to breathe, but rest assured, you're okay. I closed my eyes, and just breathed calmly and deeply through my nose and slowly out my mouth. Before you know it, the entire procedure is over, having only taken maybe 20-25 minutes.

So, don't fear the CT. If you have to drink the barium smoothies, remember they're not horrible and you will not have a problem getting them in you. During the procedure, especially if you have the contrast injected, just remember to relax and breathe...the warm sensation only last about a minute at most.

As I end this blog, I also wanted to thank Todd Allison. As I was leaving the facility, Todd sent me a private message. Todd, if you're reading this, Thank you for all your kind words and friendship after all these years, even if it is primarily through Facebook.


  1. You would do the same for me. With God no problem is too big.

  2. I am sending you love and light Mike and seeing you WELL! This is just a bump in your road. You will come out of this stronger and even more able to help others. You are loved more than you can imagine!