Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Octreotide Scan Recap

August 16, 2011
On the way up to Boston (for my Octreotide scans), we stopped in Mystic, Conn. for my "meet and greet" with a beluga whale. Afterward, we ate at Sea Swirl, a seafood and ice cream stand which is housed in an old, converted Carvel Ice Cream storefront.

I Love Sea Swirl's Logo: a Fish Eating an Ice Cream Cone

Sea Swirl's clam strips are simultaneously flaky and chewy - in a good way.

Sea Swirl has both soft serve and hard ice cream (including black raspberry); I was especially excited to see watermelon soft serve - but discovered it was vanilla ice cream with a "flavor blast" of watermelon... still delicious.

After we left Mystic, Connecticut, we went to my aunt's place in Wakefield, Massachusetts - where we stayed for a few days in preparation for my Dana-Farber appointments.

August 17, 2011
We arrived at Dana-Farber at 8:00am, and after we wandered around the wrong building and the wrong floor for a while, Gary and I finally found the nuclear medicine department. Perhaps the coolest thing about the entire experience was the crazy-looking metal container that my radioactive iv shot came in - the nurse explained "this container is to protect me, not you." Ok, that's comforting I guess.

After four hours, the scans started. I hated it. I thought I'd be fine after conquering the MRI, but I was wrong. While the Oscan machine is open on both sides, a massive, flat camera gets lowered down until it's right above your nose (for much of the time). Even with a blindfold, meditation music, and deep breathing - I spent nearly every moment fighting panic.

At first, I couldn't figure out why I was having such a problem with the tests (which are a couple of hours long) until I remembered that in my early 20s I went through a phase of having really vivid nightmares of being buried alive. Worse than the nightmares themselves, however, was the fact that somehow I'd manage to crawl UNDER the bed during my sleep... so I'd actually be touching the underneath of my mattress while dreaming that I was feeling the inside of a coffin. I would scream and scream until someone in the house would pull me out from underneath the bed and wake me up. I think having a large flat surface over my face triggered those memories. Hopefully, I won't need to get another Oscan for a long, long time.

My Radioactive "Non-Warning" Label

Octreoscan Machine (the flat screen lowers down once you slide into that doughnut looking hole)

Gene Display at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Post Oscan Activities

Since my first Oscan was an all-day event, Gary took in an afternoon Red Sox game at Fenway. I had some time to kill in between my testing and the end of the ballgame, so I went to the Gardner Museum, which is one of the most eclectic, fascinating, beautiful museums I've ever been to. (Travel note: Fenway Park and the Gardner Museum are both within walking distance of Dana-Farber, and totally worth a visit.)

August 18, 2011
After my second day of testing, Gary and I headed home - and hit Frank Pepe Pizzeria in New Haven, Conn. for a clam pie. Gary thought it was absolutely pizza hall-of-fame material; I thought it was solid, but not mind-blowing.

We finally got our clam pie (See previous blog post: Not So Clamtastic aka Shell Shocked)


  1. Oh my goodness...that metal container always freaks me out! I'm surprisingly pretty calm throughout this scan. I've been more traumatized by IVs and Barium so the CT scans cause me the most stress.

    I've always wanted to visit the Gardner museum!! What a great way to make the trip more fun.

  2. Stephanie - you have to go to The Gardner! Maybe you can work it into your thesis :)

  3. Hello Marlena!
    My name is Elisabete and I had just done my second day of Octreoscan tests, that´s why I came across to your wonderful blog! I have been diagnosed a colorrectal cancer for about 1,5 year now, and I try to live my life as gracious as I can, which is the impression I have from your posts.
    I am 42 years old and I am so grateful for having found my tumor in a very early stage, with no symptoms at all. But I can tell you one of the good things (maybe the best) that happened to my life after the diagnosis: the chance to give my life a new air, a new vision, and I have changed the way I live it! And it really worth a while!

    Thank you for providing us such beautiful posts!

  4. Thank you so much Elisabete for your moving and kind words ;) They mean do much to me