A PET Scan Race Day

December 26, 2013 Posted By: Serena Burla

Today I had a routine PET scan, a must as a cancer survivor and I realized that I approached my scan in a similar manner to how I approach my races.  I wanted to talk to my family the night before for a vote of confidence and the morning of I was in a zone of sorts with a mix of nerves and bring it on.  I reminded myself that I would stay strong and face the results no matter what they bring.

I don’t talk much the morning of the race and found myself quite quiet today.  I found it ironic that Imagine Dragons song Radioactive popped on the radio as if that was supposed to be my pump up song for my scan.  I had picked my scan day uniform purposefully and laid it out the night before(sorry no bib number), my warm breath thermo running socks, pants with no zippers, and several layers of Mizuno’s long sleeved Inspire t’s for both comfort and warmth since it is usually freezing in the rooms in which the scans occur.

As I got my call back I felt like I was headed to the warm up area, same time frame too, an hour before the start of the scans.  Here the tech went over last minute details just like my coach would do on race day.  A few trips to the bathroom to pee (much nicer than port-o-potties) and I knew I was ready.

As the PET scan machine began to whirl I pictured my final strides before lining up and sweats off time.  Contrary to a race however, was the fact that I had to lay so still and naturally an itch on my forehead taunted me for a minute.  Like in a race though, I regained mental control and focused on the task at hand as well as other things to distract me.  I counted, paid attention to the sounds, was the table moving, what is painted on the ceiling- I can almost see it.  The close quarters of the machine made me thankful for the practice of racing in tight packs mile after mile without freaking out.  I’m no stranger to elbow clangs and getting my heels steeped on.

Most of the time during the scan I was in my own head like a race but on occasion the tech would speak as if to say looking good, push through, get the next racer.  When negative thoughts of what the scans could show threatened my positive and fearless attitude I was quick to push them out, was I at mile 20 in the marathon? I recovered quick.  When the tech came back into the room and helped me off the table I bounded away in hopes that good results are to follow.  With cancer and racing there are a lot of unknowns but the one thing I can count on is the fact that I am going to continue to live and run with no regrets.

~Serena

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