Since I am an expert at explaining things on a preschool level to a preschooler, I will give you the basic idea of a PET scan and its usefulness with cancer detection. If you still have all your baby teeth and believe Santa is real, than this is on your level. If you can't add without a calculator or spell without spell check, than you are on my level.
I love sugar, and go to the gym to burn off the calories.
Kids love sugar, and run around in circles to burn off the energy.
Cancer LOVES sugar, but can't do anything about it so it holds on to it like my backside holds on to french fries.
I know all the medical professionals of the world are rolling their eyes at my inaccurate description, but I'm breaking it down for the average people, so cut me some slack.
You get injected with fancy modified sugar (glucose). It's a bit more radioactively complicated than that, but we're in preschool here, so we're calling it sugar.
The PET scan detects anything in your body that goes to the sugar party and doesn't know when it's time to shut the party down. While all the other guest go home, cancer just wants to stay and keep dancing on top of the pool table to George Michael. Your whole body will get excited, but quickly process and purge the sugar. Cancer gets excited, but doesn't purge it. And for this reason, anything retaining the sugar will show up on the PET scan.
Cancer sort of gives the PET scan that crazed look a 5 year old gets in his eyes after eating cotton candy.
Or that look I get when someone hands me an entire plate of Rice Krispie Treats and says they are all for me. While most people can eat one and walk away, I hold on to the Rice Krispie Treats like a hoarder.
Like me, cancer just can't let go of the Rice Krispie Treats and so the PET scan catches it in the act of eating the entire plate in one siting. Not that I've ever done that. Ever. Maybe.
Unfortunately, the PET scan can only technically detect the crazy cancer party if it's 1cm in size or larger. Some would argue that it could be as small as 7mm. But my insurance carrier will argue that it needs to be at least 8mm. Since the little garden I'm growing in my lung has nothing larger than 7mm, I have officially been rejected for a PET scan by they who pay the bill.
So the next step will be to wait and wait and wait some more because I LOVE to wait when it comes to cancer. My pathology results from Monday will probably be available today or tomorrow. But in Cancerland, I still have to wait for my appointment next Friday to find out the results. I can only hope that there are results and we don't continue to live in the land of ambiguity or more invasive procedures.