The Unfeeling Boob – Radiation vs Nuclear

by Heather

What’s the difference between Radiation Oncology and Nuclear Medicine?  If you confuse the two, as I did this morning, it’s One Numb Boob.

After a week of pre-op, that included not only doctors appointments, but also arranging for people to stay with my son after school, and then cancelling 2/3 of that because of my hubby’s feast/famine work schedule, it’s no wonder that I confused the two.  And it didn’t help that, as helpful as the Surgeon’s office has been, they printed 2 pre-op schedules for me.  One had Nuclear Medicine on it, and I didn’t really look to closely at the other.

I got the call from Radiation Oncology (not realizing that it was NOT the same as Nuclear Medicine) at nearly-nine a.m., as I was getting ready for my day, but still in my pajamas.  I was supposed to be there at 8:30?  Not 11:30?  Hm.  I was VERY confused, but told them I could be there by 10, and proceeded to get ready for my Nuclear Medicine appointment by applying the prescription lidocaine to the “affected area”, and covered it with plastic.  I got dressed, then checked the mass of paperwork I received from the Surgeon’s office and saw that yes, the appointment WAS at 8:30, but the other sheet still said 11:30.  “What a mistake!” I thought.  Oh well, all was fine, since I was able to change the appointment, and make it in plenty of time.

When I arrived at Radiation Oncology, I applied a second dose of the topical anesthetic, as per the instructions.  It wasn’t until the R.O. Doctor asked me why we were having this consult, and I gave the NukeMed answer, did I suspect that I was completely on the wrong track.

As it turned out, I figured out that these were indeed 2 separate appointments, and am SO glad that I had forgotten about the R.O. appointment.  If I had arrived on time to that one, I’d have had to hang out at the Not-So-Local Hospital area for 90 minutes twiddling my thumbs, waiting for my NukeMed appointment.  Not to mention I’d have had to drive in nasty traffic to get to the downtown area during the morning rush hour.  Blech!  It all turned out for the best in that respect.  However, I made it just in time to NukeMed – didn’t even crack the Kimdle.  As I was doing my now-familiar waist-up undressing, I reapplied the lidocaine.  Oh yeah, it was numb now.

Surgery’s tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.  The Surgeon, besides removing the mass and some surrounding tissue, will find a sentinel node with a Geiger counter and take that to see if the cancer has gotten that far.  (The NukeMed appointment today was to inject radioactive material that will get caught in the sentinel node as the lymphatic system attempts to rid the body of it.)

See you all on the other side.