Lain's Log

MRI is over!!

April 8/11

I am home from the dreaded MRI test. YAY!!

In my continuing quest to tell-it-like-it-is, am happy to report, it went very well! MRI machines work 24/7 in Toronto, so I was lucky to get an appointment at 7:30 p.m. on a Friday night. (as opposed to 3 in the morning!)

Sam was able to drive me, and stay in the nearby waiting room, which was a big plus. Always good to have someone along with you. (especially Sam, since he specializes in crisis management!) Prior to leaving home, did the usual whole shower/hair/makeup routine. Sam asked, (as he always jokes these days), "Are you shaving extra close under the arms?" - hee hee. Naturally! I'd been led to believe (from research), that this test requires you to lie on your stomach, with arms way up OVER your head for 30 minutes. WRONG! Upon being "situated," I was told to keep my arms by my side! Who knew?

I made copies of the email from Dr. McCready's secretary, asking that the technicians expedite the results, since they want to do another ultrasound asap AFTER the MRI results are in. I didn't want any problems or arguments about this, so brought the email request with me (as PROOF) - ALWAYS BE PREPARED!! Also brought a clear plastic bag filled with laundered towels, (for under my stomach). As pre-described in other blog entries, I CAN'T lie on my stomach, unless I have a pile of towels or pillows under my abdomen (due to pain, brought on by back labour, 18 years ago). I was POSITIVE this request would result in chaos of some nature, but for once in my life, thankfully, - NOT the case!!

We were asked to arrive at 7 p.m. for the 7:30 test. We got there even earlier, at 6:45. The receptionist, a young man, told us I was not scheduled till 8:30 p.m.! I yanked out the email from Dr. McCready's secretary, which said my test is for 7:30 p.m. Showed it to him. All of a sudden, I was told I would be taken earlier! Amazing. The receptionist, who was very nice, took me to a small area filled with lockers - none with actual locks. He told me to change into two gowns - the first one open at the front, the second, open at the back, and that I could put my clothing into any locker. I chose B4 (so I could remember it by thinking BEFORE). Sam took my picture in the "stylish" double gown. I was a true vision.

Taken on "BlackBerry-cam" so pretty blurry! (Good thing!)

While sitting in the waiting room with others dressed in blue gowns, I filled out a medical form. Just as I completed it, a technician (named SAM!!), came to get me, escorted me to another area to answer a few more verbal questions and then to get an IV line inserted. Being the pain-freak I am, I told him I'd had problems with IV insertion in the past, (which is true). On one occasion, years ago, they finally just gave up and shot my arm with local anaesthetic in order to be able to insert the IV! Young Sam managed to do it quite well, no pain on insertion, however, it kinda hurt through the rest of the test, but not TOO bad.

While sitting in the "IV insertion chair," I told him about my problem with back pain. Explained that I had called the MRI department the day before and was assured they have some kind of "padding" to put under my stomach, so I can get through the test. He then said he would send me back to the waiting room because there was one more person ahead of me. I stood up, and five seconds later, he suddenly changed his mind and said I would be next! (good thing I'd taken my 5 mg. Valium in advance, before I left home!)

He took me to the MRI room, found two small pillows plus a weirdly-shaped piece of foam padding. We piled all of these things on top of each other and he said he would NOT start the test until I was completely comfortable.

Next, I put in the earplugs I bought at Shoppers Drug Mart. (have NEVER worn earplugs in my life), and on top of THAT, he put noise-cancellation headphones. All this, because MRI tests are VERRRRRRY loud!

I lay down on the "bed/machine" whatever it's called, made sure the pillows were directly under my abdomen, then, he got my boobs into "place", hanging through these two holes, (delightful) and asked me to place my face right into this donut-type pillow. After everything was sorted out, I was actually quite comfortable. I was told (which I already knew from research), that half way through the test, contrast dye would be injected into the IV and that I might feel something cold. (was also told I might feel NOTHING). The technologist said he would NOT be talking to me in the headphones and that I must remain perfectly still for the full 30 minutes.

I KNEW there would be loud sounds, but ai yi yi! I thought it would be banging or tapping, but there were at least TEN different types of sounds throughout the test. One, like a fire siren, another, like clanging, the next, beeping, then, buzzing, then, (and thankfully, I'd been warned about this), a heavy duty shaking - like an earthquake, the whole machine bumping back and forth/vibrating, while I'm supposed to lie there, perfectly still. (thank God for the Diazepam. I would recommend this to ANYONE having the test!)

As for the contrast dye, I could definitely feel it going in, but it didn't bother me in any way.

Various friends told me to think of this or that, to take my mind off everything. One good pal suggested I think of my Auntie Ray and her collection of amazing hats - which I actually DID, (especially her new yellow one)! And it helped. Then, I thought about my sister, Carrie, who was in the midst of a Tafelmusik concert at the same time I was in the MRI machine. I almost started laughing, contemplating the juxtaposition of ME, enduring CLANG CLANG CLANG, while SHE was hearing/singing Beethoven's beautiful 9th symphony - Ode to Joy! I mean, come ON! - could you GET two more different events going on at the same exact moment!? Hmmmm. Ludwig vs. MRI. Which would YOU choose??"

After what seemed like an ETERNITY of ridiculous sound effects, Sam, (the technologist), ambled in, told me the test was over, got me to sit up, took off the headphones, removed the IV needle, told me I could go get dressed and that I was a good patient! R U kidding me? (Never was told THAT before!)

I asked when the "expedited" results might be known. He said it usually takes about five business days - so, we're talkin' a week from now - maybe by Friday April 15th. I'm very worried what the results could show. Decisions about my surgery will be based on the results of the MRI as well as the upcoming ultrasound.



At April 12, 2011 at 12:25 p.m. , Anonymous sean said...

It's a little absurd to talk about it in these terms, but what a wonderful story! Like a sort of comic adventure. I can imagine someone telling it on CBC Radio or something. It's beautiful the way you've noticed all the hilarious moments in this surreal affair, and thank you for taking us along with you. It makes me feel really close-by. We're all thinking about you during this scary time! See you next week i hope!

At April 15, 2011 at 9:23 a.m. , Blogger Camille said...

Hello! I found your site through your daughter Kate's site.

I just wanted to say that while all situations are different, I think some of the emotions can be the same when it comes to cancer, so I think I can relate to a lot of what you've written here - not from direct experience, but having watched my own't mom's struggle. Anyway, I'm hopeful for you and think your approach is great. Cheering you on from Ottawa! Good luck and keep strong...


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