The Sherlock of Speculation

The bone scan was today. I won’t go into too much since I already wrote a detail-rich post on bone scanning about 3  years ago. Except here in Canada they put an elastic around your feet and wrap you up in a cocoon-thing. No wonder some people get claustrophobic. But mostly it’s like being put to bed for a nap.

bone scan

Though one odd thing happened, and now I feel compelled to over-analyze it. Before the scan the technician was asking all kinds of questions.

“Do you know why you’re here?”

“Yeah,” I replied. “Oh, do you not know why I’m here?”

“I just need to make sure you know.”

Okay. So I tell her. I’m there because of breast cancer.

“Where?” she asks.

“Right side,” I say.

Then she says something along the lines of “you have breast cancer on you right side.”

And I say, “No, I don’t know if I have breast cancer.”

“You don’t know?”

“I had it three years ago.”

Then she asks if I’ve had follow ups, operations, dental work, etc. And then says, “So why do you need this scan?”

To which I reply, “I wanted to get pregnant, and so they did a CT and found some spots on my lungs. I don’t know what they are, but we’re checking for cancer.”

That conversation went back and forth like a game of ping pong. She wasn’t rude or anything, but I got the feeling she was trying to determine whether I “knew what was happening”. But I swear I didn’t show up the scan looking like a hot mess, or falling over drunk, and wouldn’t it be so much more sane to completely forget the shit storm that has caused this anxiety than be able to remember every freaking detail?


The scan happens. It’s easy. If you are going to get a scan, I say, “Make it a bone scan!”

And afterwards, as I hop off the table and grab my shoes to go, she says the weirdest thing: “Good luck with your pregnancy and all that other stuff.”

Okay, thanks?

Do technicians know the power of their words? Do they realize we patients of paranoia analyze every sound that comes out of their mouths? “Good luck with your pregnancy and all that other stuff.” What does that mean, oh great Sherlock of speculation?  Has she peered into my future and saw that there’s no cancer? Does she think my oncologist is totally overreacting? Did she get distracted by the end-of-day procedures and just say the first thing that came to her mind, possibly relating to the concept of pregnancy because she too is trying to get pregnant?

I just don’t know, and I guess I’ll never know.

In other news, today Zsolt and I underwent the serious process of making pickles. It involved cleaning jars, pouring water into a pot then pouring it back into measuring cups since we didn’t know the quantity (or rather, I didn’t believe Zsolt’s guess of 5 litres that turned out to be correct), adding salt to the water, slicing the cucumbers after they were cleaned, adding dill, garlic and bay leaves  to the jars, sticking the cucumbers into the jars, and topping them with toasted sour dough bread. Then, everything was placed into the sun.

It’s been HOT these past few days. The apartment is above thirty degrees (Canadian for ‘damn hot’), we have been stinking and sweating and sweating and stinking – so what do you do in a heat wave? Make pickles.

In other news, we’ve discovered an amazing pond that isn’t too far away from the apartment. It’s really an old quarry that’s been filled with water, and the locals go swimming in the ‘pond’ – the whole thing feels like camp, and it’s the sort of exercise that I’m actually really happy to do. There’s magic in water, particularly nature and water, and I’m really thankful that in this time of crap and coping, there’s a place so full of laughter.

And that was today. Next week is going to be nuts: scans and meetings every day. But maybe, if miracles can happen, they’ll bring me some good news too. We’ll see. Even when I feel like I’ve lost my hope, little bits of it float back up and I think, “maybe, just maybe it will be okay.”

So here’s hoping. Pregnancy, pickles and ponds. That’s what I want. Oh, and that trip to the beach I mentioned before! 🙂

16 thoughts on “The Sherlock of Speculation

  1. dear Catherine,

    doesn’t sound like too much to ask for – pregnancy, pickles and ponds! I think your raised a good point about don’t those tech know we hang on every syllable of e-v-e-r-y word they say?! here’s hoping it won’t be much longer ’til your dreams come true – then you and zsolt can celebrate – AT THE BEACH. sending you oodles of warm hugs, love, and the light of hope.

    XOXO, karen

  2. okay, I know this is a space of positivity and light and all, but can I just state that tech is “a plug”, as my hockey-playing brothers would say? what a tool. are you sure she didn’t get mixed up and ultrasound your hand instead? ugh.

    I feel better now.

    pickles for all.

    • Positivity, light and sparkles bouncing off of rainbow unicorns. Plus the occasional explosive “fuck!!”, but even they erupt like shiny fireworks. 🙂 But yeah, I didn’t like the vibe either.

      The pickles on the other hand are doing very well.

  3. I have 152 stories of things said to me by technicians. The overwhelming majority were professional and helpful but others…I think some like to pretend they’re doctors, some power-trip a little bit, some are rude and nosy and some just grossly insensitive. And they make a huge difference in how you feel about a test. I had one ultrasound technician question me about my metastatic breast cancer treatments, Google it all while I was undergoing my scan and then exclaim at how expensive it all is. She told me I should get a second opinion. All this to say that a) I get how profoundly the tech’s words would affect you and b) your instinct to dismiss it all (as much as you can) is likely right. It all sounded so familiar to me.
    And yay for pickles and ponds! Here’s to happy distractions and getting through heat waves. 🙂

      • I should specify that it was at a private clinic. It was the fastest way to get a pelvic ultrasound. The tech didn’t even leave the room while I dressed. It was mind-boggling. The good news was that the test and time proved that my worries re ovarian cancer were unfounded! I ought to have written a letter but I was too traumatized.
        I think “bed-side manner” is grossly overlooked as a criteria for working in the medical field. Then again, many, many are lovely people who have turned eased fears and even made me laugh.

  4. I agree about the bone scans not being too bad in and of themselves. Glad that one’s over anyway. Sounds like your technician was a bit lacking in the communication skills department. Oh well. And I never would have guessed that this post would have wound up being about pickles too! Pickles, pregnancy and ponds – they sound like a great combo! Good luck next week and beyond. Rooting for you all the way!

  5. Pingback: Weekly Round Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

  6. Hugs, sweet one….

    Waiting for news. I like the pickles thing, too… I’m old so this may fall flat, but there’s the old joke about pregnant women craving PICKLES…. it’s usually pickles and ice cream.

    As for the technician and the words… Oh YEAH. Been there, done that. Every. Single. Time. Imaging tests? I hang on their every syllable and dissect each one until I hear from the doctor.

    Love and hugs,


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