Sunday, November 15, 2009

Breast MRI or, A Season in Hell

I had to have a breast MRI on Thursday, Nov. 12th.  Dr. Quiros was curious as to why an area on my left breast showed signs of a mass, but didn’t show up on the ultrasound.  The radiologist said that it could be nothing & that it could have been a shadow.  Alternately, hormones can change breast mass.  Still, Dr. Quiros wanted to be 100% sure that he didn’t need to remove it during the right breast mastectomy.

So off we went to St. Luke’s for the MRI (or as I’ve taken to calling it, a season in Hell).  Like at Dr. Quiros’ office, there was valet parking, which is really cool.  That is, until I got back in the car & noticed that the kids had left empty soda bottles, napkins, candy wrappers, & assorted items of clothes strewn about the back seat.  I could have sworn I saw a tiny woodland creature foraging for scraps.  I was SOO embarrassed!  When I got home, I told them that they’ve got a big ol’ project on their hands this weekend – CLEAN THEIR MOTHER’S CAR.  Little monsters.  The heck of it is, Aubrie’s 10 year old jeep is so clean, it looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor.  Go figure!

I checked in at the MRI desk, & yet again, the ladies were unbelievable!!!  Here’s their picture:

I’m so mad at myself for not getting their names!  If you’re reading this, girls, please drop me a line.  Sign the guestbook or email me.  And aren’t they just the prettiest little things you ever saw?  You are, girls!!

As usual, I had gone online before this test.  I saw photos of breast MRI machines that made them look like I would be lying on a cloud.  Pictures like this:
Ooh, comfy & cozy.

 Just like a day at the spa!

THIS, however, is what I got:

Of course, I’m exaggerating, but it kind of felt like it!  There were no pillows, just a u-shaped foam forehead “rest”.  And padding?  If you call cold plastic comfortable, then yeah, I guess it was just swell.  Here’s the best comparison I could come up with to describe the difference between the pictures I saw vs. reality - like going from an overstuffed recliner to a stool.

First, I had to have an IV, because half way through the test they would be sending some type of dye through my system.  We got it started, then went into the torture, um, MRI room.  As they hooked me up to the saline, it spewed everywhere.  The IV didn’t “take”.  Back to the other room to restart it in the other arm.  Oh, the frivolity!  Finally, we returned to the ancient contraption that was supposed to take pretty pictures of the insides of my girls.

I was led to the slab & told to lay on my stomach.  I had to get my boobs in the cutout holes just right.  In order to accomplish this, I had to lay directly on my diaphragm & bottom of my rib cage.  I could barely breathe.  I was trying to support myself with my arms & using my back to lift me a little.  This was about as uncomfortable as you can get.

I had to stay still like that for what they told me would be ½ hour, which very well may be the sum total of the actual test time.  However, that doesn’t take into account all the pauses while they checked the images, & started the next series.  It seemed to take forever.  I began to wonder if they were hosting a Tupperware party on the other side of the partition, & occasionally noticed that one of the tests were done.  Of course I’m exaggerating – kind of.  Matt said I was in there for an hour and a half & trust me, it felt like it.

Then, there’s the noise; anyone who’s ever had an MRI can relate to this.  How to put it, how to put it – oh, I know.  Imagine that you’re in a tunnel, & two freight trains pass each other, blowing their whistles & honking their horns.  It’s kind of like that.  They give you headphones, which is nice.  However, once the noise started, they were as effective as giving me a fuzzy pair of winter ear muffs & telling me to hum.

When it was over, I got up & took my first deep breath & nearly fainted.  I honestly felt drunk & light headed.  Thankfully, it didn’t last too long.  When I told Matt about the dizziness, he remarked, “You should be used to that.  You’ve always been a little dizzy, Lucy.”  Ha . . . . . Ha.

But, it’s over now & I know that this test will help Dr. Quiros when it comes time for my surgery, which is scheduled for Monday, November 23rd.  Yup, right before Thanksgiving – which sucks.  But it could be worse!  It could be right before Christmas.

This week will be somewhat busy.  I’m still researching breast reconstruction, as I’ll be meeting with Dr. Morrissey on Wednesday.  I want to be sure I have all my questions written down.  And, no, Filiz, you can’t come with me.

Then Thursday, I meet with Dr. Quiros, & get the results of the MRI.  I’m a little nervous about that, though.  I’d really like to keep good ol’ lefty.  But, if she’s gotta go to save my life, then, “buh bye”.    

On the bright side, this experience has been illuminating for me.  I’m amazed at my friends & how they’re rallying around me.  They’ve organized to bring my family food for at least 2 months.  They’ve volunteered to clean my house & run errands.  They’ve even stepped up to organize homeschool functions for me.  A few creative ones volunteered to donate some fat to reconstruct my boobs.  Nice try, girls! 

I’m also amazed by my family; especially my girls.  They’ve been right there, ready & willing to accompany me on my myriad of doctor’s appointments.  My mother in law, Gretchen, has been a rock; as usual.  She's always been there to take care of the kids & me through more situations than I can share here.  She's been the source of great strength for all of us, & I couldn't be more thankful to have her in my life.  I love you, Gretchen.

And, of course Matt, who’s scared out of his mind.  Matt’s a doer & isn’t good at standing by waiting.  He's been using the time before surgery to go online & look up alternate or complementary therapies to go along with the chemo.  Once the surgery is over with, he’ll probably get all Gestapo on me.  By that I mean, make me sit down & do nothing.  Which for a fidget like me is a big pill to swallow.  Hey, that’s probably how he’ll do it.  He’ll make me take my medicine.  Hmmm.  A quiet Lucy – the two words shouldn’t ever be said in the same sentence.  Shudder.

Thanks, too, for those of you who’ve let me know that this blog has been helpful.  I’m truly humbled by your emails.  Thank you.

Next up, my visit with Dr. Morrissey.


1 comment:

Melody said...

Nothing like an uncomfortable plastic MRI bench experience to righten your day, right? Pthbt!

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