The Secret Life of PET

The hospital called late yesterday (well, someone from the hospital called; I can’t imagine the building itself stepping out of the office to make a call).


Someone from the hospital called yesterday to say a PET scan has been arranged for me at 9.15am tomorrow (Wednesday) in Preston. The venue is relevant as the Rosemere Centre at Royal Preston Hospital was where I went every day for six weeks to have my radiotherapy treatment, staying all day on Wednesdays to cram in five hours of chemo as well.

So, Preston – here I come. Again.

I’ll admit I didn’t know exactly what a PET scan was, so I looked it up. It transpires that PET stands for positron-emission tomography.

Tomography! The art of photographing people called Tom! Or, more specifically, their emissions.

(That small joke reminds me of an evening in college when my friends and I had enjoyed a take-away curry, imbibed one or two delicious beverages, and then someone produced a lighter. I won’t say any more than that – other than, if you ever think of doing something similar, make sure you have a wet flannel and a tube of Germoline to hand.)

So, positron-emission tomography, eh?

I still have no idea what it is.

However, there are rules I have to follow – and these are GENUINE instructions I’ve been given…

  • I’m not allowed anything to eat or drink for six hours before the scan. Yeah, I was expecting something like that. So, no cup of tea until after my appointment is over. It’ll be tough.
  • I’m forbidden to undertake any strenuous exercise for a full 24 hours before the scan. What? Awww, that’s SO disappointing. Sigh! Go on then…

And, my favourite instruction of them all…

  • Do not mix with young children for several hours following the scan. What?! Is this procedure likely to turn me into a creepy bloke who owns a van with ‘FREE SWEETS’ scrawled across the side and the promise of puppies to play with? Even if that happens temporarily, it’s not something I’m altogether happy about.

So, I did what I did before, and looked up the reason for the warning. The result is both amazing, and astounding. I’ll paste it here, word for word…

As a precaution, you may be advised to avoid prolonged close contact with
pregnant women, 
babies or young children for a few hours after a PET scan,
as you’ll be slightly radioactive during this time.

Did you spot it? I’ll be SLIGHTLY RADIOACTIVE!

How cool is that?!

Finally, this is my opportunity to become a super-villain, even if only for a few hours.

I wonder if Ikea do self-assembly evil lairs?

Joking aside (although not the part about becoming a super-villain, that’s no joke), I’m a little nervous about the scan. They’ll be checking my body from top to toe, looking for any other anomalies that might suggest the cancer has spread further than just to one of my lungs.

I’ve got everything crossed that it hasn’t and will, of course, report back afterwards.

On another topic, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has been kind enough to donate to the Just Giving page I was encouraged to set up. Knowing that I will be able to support my family while going through another round of treatment has lifted such a weight from my shoulders, and I’m eternally grateful.

I also like to say THANK YOU to the incredible artist, Nigel Parkinson for this new image, which I’m using at the top of this very page (and every other). He’s pictured me just as I look now, kicking off round two of my fight with cancer.

Nigel is, of course, an amazing illustrator and the artist behind Dennis and Gnasher in the Beano! Check out more of his work here:

I showed Kirsty and the boys when it arrived yesterday, and received this comment from Sam…

“You look like you do in real life; like you really need a bit of a fat tummy.”

I told him I’d work on it.


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Support Tommy!
You Can Help Tommy Support His Family

Despite Tommy's pride and dislike of holding out his hand for charity, his friends have somehow convinced him to set up a Just Giving page as a way to help support his family as he heads into cancer treatment for the second time.

If you can spare anything at all, please consider donating. Every penny will go towards lifting a huge weight from Tommy's shoulders. His ability to work is about to be limited again, and he is very worried about how he can support his family over the coming weeks and months.

You can find out more or donate here:

Thank you for your time.

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