The Saga of the Breast MRI

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

After I wrote a few weeks ago about being diagnosed with breast cancer, I’ve heard from many of you who have fought the same fight. We do have the one in eight statistic staring us in the face. Many of you have shared with me about your diagnoses and how now you are cancer free. You’ve also given me advice and counsel about the tests and surgery and treatments. 
There are always more tests to undergo after that first test shows up something that shouldn’t be there. In my case, a mammogram initially indicated a problem and led to more testing. First an ultrasound. Not so bad. Not as good as when a new mama is seeing that sweet baby she’s carrying and gets to find out if it’s a girl or boy. This one just showed up something I didn’t want to show up. A tumor that next brought out a very long needle to dig a little of it out for testing. Then when the tests come back positive – that’s not such a good word when you’re talking cancer – then more tests are ordered. 

One of them involved an MRI machine like this one. I didn’t really have any problem doing the MRI test. It was noisy. My neck got stiff from having to lie still on my stomach for 25 minutes, but I can’t begin to have a story to compare with the one Sandi shared with me about her MRI experience. I think she’s ready for her own comedy show. She has kindly allowed me to share her story with you so that maybe you can get some giggles too the way I did. I’m sure some of you who have had questionable mammograms or have been diagnosed with breast cancer will be able to identify. For those of you yet to do an MRI, don’t worry if the doctor says you need one. Sandi’s experience is not the usual one. Mine, the noisy but uneventful one is more the norm. But here’s Sandi’s story.

I’ve had three types of biopsies and yesterday, a breast MRI. All I can say is “ouch.” Getting an IV started for the dye part of it was bad enough–I asked them to call 911 because I feared they were trying to kill me. However, the task was finally done…after seven pokes… and then I was led innocently into a room like a lamb led to slaughter–I mean to the MRI machine “place.”

There was that thing again that looked like what I’d seen when they changed the oil in my car. Twas a bed with holes in it for my “ladies” to hang through–the difference was that no one was going to be under it gathering pieces of me. That should have made me feel better…it didn’t. The table/bed/contraption was rather high in the air and I think I climbed up two ladders to get onto it…see I’ve begun blocking it already…perhaps it was a step stool. I have bad knees in the sense that one has been replaced and the other one needs to be, so kneeling is next to impossible. I also have a plate in my neck with screws and I was hoping to keep them in the same place as when I entered. 

She told me to lie on my stomach–something I haven’t done since I’ve gained…oh maybe 30 pounds…and trying to decide where to tuck the fat so it didn’t interfere with anything was not only arduous, it was painful. Fortunately, many years ago I learned some hypnosis and decided to use it to transport myself to a much happier and safer elevation or something. However, I had to stay unhypnotized until I got onto the the least.

Finally, the tech said we were ready to start and she left the room…or not…who can see when their face is buried in a frame that doesn’t allow for vision…and certainly not comfort. The machine began…thumping…wheezing…coughing–sounding like an asthmatic mule that was stuck in a metal tunnel and needed put out of its misery. Wow–I don’t think general anesthesia could have blocked out all of that noise. I would mentally put myself in my safe place and wham…the noise would start again. The tech kept telling me I was doing very well and I kept telling myself that this was NOT something I wanted to have to repeat. So I even tried not to breathe. (They tell you to lie very still.)

So, after about three days of this–well, maybe 25 minutes according to “her,” which was more like four hours to me, she injected the dye and we were “off” again. Finally finished. I crawled, literally, off the table and kind of fell onto the tech who had no idea how close she had come to being crushed. My hand began itching something fierce. About five minutes later, everything was itching. I said, “I think there’s something wrong” as a hive appeared on my lip and my body began shaking and my head began thumping and and… .

The tech called the nurse who immediately gave me Benedryl and ordered up several gallons of water…for me to drink. (A slight exaggeration). More hives and chest pain–so the nurse called a doctor (and maybe a lawyer and an Indian chief). Benedryl does strange things to me. The threat of sending me to the emergency room led me to stop complaining. However, it was several hours later until I was allowed to leave.

The upside…and I really truly looked for one…was that my breasts are fine. Silly little buggers…why don’t they have an indicator light? Cars do.

Thanks for helping me to see that I had a very easy time with that MRI procedure, Sandi. And it would be nice if we had a few indicator lights. But then if I had them now, they might be glowing after my radiation treatments. Ten down. Six to go. 

Thanks for reading. And if you haven’t read my 1st Rosey Corner book, Angel Sister, you can download it right now onto your e-readers or your computer or phone for less than two bucks. That price won’t last long. Only a couple of days so hope you’ll grab it and go back to 1936 and read about the Merritt sisters when they were only girls. And if you’ve already read it and enjoyed the story, it would be great if you told your e-reading friends about the deal. Thanks.