Tuesday, April 19, 2011

MRI Appointment

Sorry it's been so long for a post. The MRI itself went well. The results were only "ok" but more on that later. On a side note: I've discovered a higher pain threshold for the IV process and that's pretty fantastic.

So here's a basic rundown at the hospital for each MRI appointment. We arrive at 8:30am and I check in at the front desk (the girl, just a little younger than me, always smiles and says, "I remember you!" which I have to say is completely awesome). I then get escorted by the same gentleman who has some sort of accent which I believe is from an African country (I should ask, it's just that I don't want to be rude - it's none of my business, but I'm very curious). The gentleman who I can never remember his name gives me a key for my things, and a locker. I change into a gown and scrub pants. I'm allowed to wear undies and socks underneath but that's it. No jewelry, no hair clips, etc.

Once I've locked all of my goods away, I sit in a chair and the nurse wheels over a tray of medical stuff: syringes, medical swabs, gauze, cotton balls, blue gloves, needles, etc. This time, as the cart was turning the corner I recognized the face of my nemesis. The arm gouger. She is the woman that digs four or five times, searching in vein for my vein, until I can no longer stand it and she calls another nurse (who by the way, always gets the vein on the first try). When I saw the bad nurse, I smiled big and said, "You might not remember me, but I definitely remember you." I reminded her that she's supposed to get another nurse for my arm, but she wanted to try it just once. So, on she went, digging in my arm, swirling the needle all around the tissue underneath the skin. I silently counted to ten slowly....one one hundred, two one hundred, and so on. When I hit 10 I said, "Ok. That's it with that." Bad nurse meekly apologized, and paged the other nurse. Once the replacement arrived she was immediately successful.

As soon as the IV is in place, they take me into the MRI room. The first thing you hear is the chirping of the MRI coolant. It sounds like little birds, as if you're in an atrium not in the basement of the UW Hospital. I'm placed on my back, with a contraption that holds my head in place. The assistants place a warm blanket on me, and I'm inserted into the doughnut hole (that's what I call it). It looks like this (these are not pictures of me):



The scan lasts approximately 30 minutes. It's a series of loud thumps, beeps, and screeches. You're supposed to hold perfectly still, with your eyes closed. The machine is exceedingly loud and even though people wear ear plugs you can hear all of the massive sounds and feel the magnate resonate through your body. This time though, it didn't hurt my head. Halfway through the scan they pull me back out of the machine. They inject a metal solution that runs through my veins. They quickly insert me back into the machine and start the scanning process again. The contrast dye gives a slight salty taste in my mouth, and when it's first injected I feel a tickle inside my arm, slowly heading up to my shoulder then it spreads throughout my body. It's a cool sensation, literally, it feels slightly cold throughout my body as it travels.

After the MRI we usually have about half of an hour, sometimes a full hour, before I meet with the radiation oncologist. During that time we visit, head to the cafeteria and grab some coffee or food. Lately I've been wanting to peek outside to check for squirrels. Seattle has the fattest, longest squirrels, it's great. 

When we went in for the appointment with the radiation oncologist this time, as we were looking at my brain scans in a communal area, I saw a woman in a wheel chair. She was obviously going through radiation. I couldn't tell how old she was, she could have been my age or my mothers. Because of the various drugs, her face was puffy. She had a few wisps of cotton candy fuzz on her head. She seemed very weak, like a sick bird. It was hard not to want to hug her.

Although my scans didn't look as stellar as we were hoping, I escaped having to do radiation. The doctors want me to continue on my three month span of MRI's and I'm fine with that. Looking at the images of my brain and the tumor was eye opening. I had been pretty lackadaisical on my eating. I felt powerful after my last MRI and took my health for granted. This MRI woke me up to the reality that although I am capable of running, working, playing, and challenging myself - acting like any other 30 year old, I also have a very real brain tumor and I have to take it very seriously. It's no joke.

3 comments:

  1. Hi Jess! I was thinking about you this weekend and in your honor ran my fastest 10K ever. :-) I am so glad that your latest MRI has come back clean again. Woo Hoo! I will shoot you an email, maybe we could meet up at the park one of these afternoons to enjoy the beautiful spring weather. Big Hugs ~ Sara

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  2. Wish it were a joke, a huge sick joke, but being it isn't I think you've been doing exceedingly in educating yourself, shopping organic, cooking good recipes and exercising. PLUS, speaking up about the nurse that can't get a bull'seye on your vein. Now that you gave her a second chance you can say no way immediately and not have to count to even 3! Interesting photos. I was glad they weren't of you, even though it's what you go through. You're very brave Jessica Lynn, very, very brave. xoxoxoxoxo

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  3. Dearest Jess - When I read your blog I feel like I am inside your brain. Thank you for letting us all peek inside as you have a lovely, wonderful, sweet, caring, curious, fun and witty mind. I mean this in the kindest way possible but I love all of you minus your tumor and that is no joke! Xo, MF.

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