PET Scan

I sit, warmly blanketed, in a bland room. The dim light on the wall opposite is an assault on my closed eyes. There’s no clock and no windows. The air conditioning hums loudly for intervals and then cuts off. My eyes water but I don’t raise a hand to brush the liquid away. Sometimes I imagine the radioactive isotope seeping through me. I think I can feel it like a heavy slug in my heart, in my kidneys, even in my legs. I twitch involuntarily.

Later, strapped to a bed in the donut of spinning xrays, I feel minute.

I think: “I am as inconsequential as a dot.” A whisper starts in my head. “Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.” Like a dot. A tear runs down to my ear. Again, I can’t wipe it away.

This was written for MerrildSmith's dVerse Prosery Prompt - Finding Your Way.  She asks us to use a line from Joy Harjo's poem 'A Map To The Next World'.   The line is "Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end."   We must write 144 words or less of prose including that line.

NB: The good news is, this scan found no other cancer!

30 thoughts on “PET Scan

    1. Oh yes, I think it is. I also figure it’s something big to write about, hey? No struggle for material. At the moment it might be a bit raw or unedited or something but it’s material that I can look back on and work.

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  1. I am happy for your good news 🙂 I think anything like this can be a dehumanising experience at the time its happening, but to reflect on it makes us feel human again.

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  2. Congratulations on your good news!
    What a powerful piece of writing!
    I was in one of those donut scanners for an hour, before I had a brain operation. Your piece vividly brought back to me what a horrible experience it was.

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  3. A great flash of insight on the scary reality of cancer. As Ingrid mentioned, I’m sure it does make you feel like an object going through such scans. Hoping the writing process heals and the cancer is kept at bay! 💖


  4. So glad for a clear image on your scan and the strength you have to write this flash; share about the dots and how they make us holdout breath, how they can’t be easily wiped away. A flash piece I won’t forget.

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  5. I’m sure that physically, you are damaged.
    I’m equally sure that mentally, you are stronger.

    I’m happy that the scan was clear – from the picture I have built of you, you still have work to do here yet.

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  6. Thank you for adding the note at the end. I wasn’t certain if this was a recent real experience or not–but I’m so happy for you, and I’m sure you are relieved. Yes, you exist in the middle of it all right now. Thank you for sharing your experience. 💙

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    1. Thanks. It is a bit dramatized to suit the quote. I put it under fiction but it was mostly true. Unfortunately I did come away feeling pretty gross so I guess that coloured my view of the actual scan too.


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