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man laying on a table with scans and x-rays above him showing his body parts and his hobbies

Scan, Scan, Everywhere a Scan

2019 has been the year of the scan for me. I’ve had 3 MRIs, several x rays and one PET/CT scan since January. I’m very claustrophobic so just the thought of going into an MRI tube sends my heart rate racing. By now though, I’ve developed a good routine to get through the tests. I’m not recommending this routine for others, but it works for me. I take an Ativan a half hour before the exam. Then a second Ativan right before I go into the exam room. And right before I am moved into the tube, I put on an eye mask, so even if I accidentally open my eyes in the tube, I won’t be able to see a thing. The eye mask was my wife’s idea and it’s been a game-changer. I also use the time in the tube to visualize all things purple in my house.

My scans for myeloma show no new issues

The good news is none of the exams showed any significant issues resulting from my myeloma. That’s always a relieve. Scans and tests can a bit anxiety-inducing. However, the toxicity of my eight years of continuous treatment and steroids in combination with getting older have forced me to rethink what I can expect from myself. I’m thinking I might have to accept certain limitations I have. It’s unlikely I’ll run any ultra-marathons or solo climb El Capitan or win a masters tennis event. I recently spoke with a pair of 20 year plus myeloma patients and it gave me comfort that the mental challenges I face are not unusual. I’ve said this before, some of the best support and inspiration I have received is from fellow patients. It’s a powerful community.

But, I’m still plagued with back pain

For the past two months, I’ve been plagued by a lower back and sciatica issue. It’s finally recovering, but in terms of fitness, I feel like I’m starting from scratch. It’s humbling and frustrating. I’ve also been home a lot, which I don’t mind. I read more than I ever did before. I am taking an online course and I dusted off my portable keyboard to once again try and learn the piano. I also get to spend more time with my wife and dog, which is a huge plus. But I need a hobby. Something I can do when I’m home bored or dealing with insomnia or that will take my mind off more serious things like cancer. I also need something that will tap into my hopefully hidden creative side. All suggestions are welcome.

An unexpected moment of gratitude

The other day I was driving to meet a friend for a walk. On the way, I had a blast of gratitude given that I’ve come through 2019 and 8 years of myeloma still kicking and still able to enjoy life. It’s all bonus time at this point. During my most recent scan, I had a powerful epiphany that left me calm and happy. I told my wife, but sadly I couldn’t remember the actual epiphany, but I did remember the feeling of contentment it gave me. And I think that feeling is why the other day I was feeling lucky to be where I am. We’ll see how long this lasts, but my goal is to maintain this attitude adjustment.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • saljercoleman
    6 days ago

    Try a great hobby of many facets, model railroading.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    5 days ago

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing that. Best

  • joy
    2 months ago

    I know the feeling of scans. I feel like I should glow in the dark. My first bone marrow biopsy, I went after work, alone. Had no clue what to expect. Needless to say, when he hit the spot, I screamed and I had no control of my leg, and it shot out straight. The doc is like Don’t move… after that, it was in the hospital. So I came out of remission a few months ago, decided to go to the doctors office again, this time I took 1 Ativan at home, then another 1/2 hour later, decided I needed another, let’s not do it again! I was in Lala land with my husband holding me in the pretzel position. Well, they hit the spot, and it brought me back to where I was, tears, trying not to hyperventilate, I look at my husband, tears coming down his face. I said just get it done please. At that point I passed out. So with the doc wanting to do another one, I asked my hubby to go, his reply, Never! I have never seen anything like it before and no way again. Just go to the hospital and let them deal. Omg.

  • Carole McCue
    2 months ago

    I can appreciate your anxiety. I experience scan-xiety with every CT.
    Sending positive hugs that all remains well🤗

  • Ann Harper moderator
    2 months ago

    Sometimes just knowing it will be ok is enough. That’s great you get to be home and using your time to read and learn. Exercise might give you something else to do and might even help your back pain. Good luck to you.

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    2 months ago

    @mattg I remember all the PET scans and watching and waiting and being stuck inside that ridiculously uncomfortable metal donut for 18 minutes. For someone with RA, which means back issues, those things are basically torture devices. I feel your pain, man, I usually have to take tons of pain meds just to get through it, and even though I tell the tech EVERY TIME don’t wake me up if I fall asleep, they do. Like clockwork, when there’s five minutes left, that horrible loud, subway train speaker comes on and they say “FRRRVE MNNNTES LRRRFT,” and scare the heck out of me and I’m awake for the last excruciating five mins. Five mins that feel like 100. LOL The things we have o go through huh? Good post. Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

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