Posted by: cg00n | July 4, 2008

MRI #2

I just got the call yesterday (July 2nd) and my liver was scanned this morning (July 3rd).  Someone had to cancel and I was lucky enough to get their slot.  However, this MRI was not as much fun as the last one.

No food or drink for 4 hours before the scan which was scheduled for 11:30.  That makes it – er -7:30am I should finish breakfast, right?  At that time in the morning even my alarm clock isn’t awake so P drove me into the city in a very empty state.  Normally this would not be a problem and I was certainly feeling OK right up to the time they needed to stick an IV into my arm.  Two nurses spent five minutes trying to find a vein.  Somewhere between the right and the left arm I figured out my blood pressure must be a bit low.  I came to this startling conclusion when I almost passed out.  They laid me back in their acupuncture recliner, stuck a cold cloth on my head and fed me a few sips of apple juice.  It was enough to restore me to something near normal consciousness.

Using one of the nurses for support I staggered into the MRI room and got myself strapped down to the gurney thing.  They tested the IV with some innocuous solution which hurt more than I expected and then consigned me to the MRI’s tunnel.  Unlike the previous scans this one involved spoken instructions to breathe in (or out) and hold for a few seconds.  I was trying to relax and meditate but this was almost impossible under the circumstances.  In spite of this everything was going OK until they injected the “contrast” stuff through the IV.  In the first place it hurt a bit (they had probably found a small vein which got a bit bloated when the IV pump did its thing) and in the second place I started to feel a serious urge to throw up.  That would have been a monumental mess and I was just about to squeeze the little “HELP!” gizmo they gave me when the urge subsided.  Apparently this is a known side effect of the contrast drug which occurs in some small proportion of lab rats patients.  I wish they’d mentioned that fact:  it would probably have made it a little easier to deal with. Shortly afterwards they unstrapped me and set me free, giving me the remaining half bottle of apple juice as a memento.

Somehow I found my way back down to the lobby and got myself a muffin and a coffee which helped enormously.  A little while later P picked me up and we went for lunch followed by a calming walk in the well-preserved Victorian gardens just along the road from the hospital.  At least I can enjoy a (short) walk these days. Anyway, that’s over and done with and that should be all the tests needed for now.  I expect to hear from the general surgeon’s office in the next few days to schedule an appointment in a couple of weeks. Lessons learned:

  • take some extra clothing in case I get cold
  • haul my sorry ass out of bed early enough to eat something, or:
  • suck on a couple of hard candys to maintain some blood sugar content
  • let the techs know they might have a serious cleaning job when I’m done

After all the warnings that came with the stuff they used for contrast during the CAT scan I thought this would be no problem.  In fairness, on the grand scale of things, it wasn’t so bad.  To paraphrase the old saying about flying, any medical procedure you can walk away from is a good one.

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Responses

  1. This seems to be a trying and rather tiring ordeal. On the other … wonderful that the initial tests are drawing to a close as you may soon have a recommendation for a treatment plan. I am not sure if the shoe (oops melanoma) was on my foot that I’d be handling all this as well as you are.

  2. Well, at least that is over.
    You seem to be taking this all in stride, which is awesome. I think your great attitude is making all these challenging experiences easier on you. Keep us posted on the results! And I’m Rxing you daily muffins and coffee. 🙂

    -L

  3. I came to your site via Miss Melanoma and realize that we have alot in common. I am a melanoma warrior, (in remission now) and have to continue to endure the MRI of the brain and CT scan of chest, abdomen and pelvis every 6 months. (It was every 3 for a while) I did exactly what you almost did in the CT machine. I did throw up because they “pushed” the contrast in the IV a bit too fast. I got out “I think I am going to…” before it happened. As if it could not get worse, they cleaned me up and then had to move me to another machine to re-do the scan. To add insult to injury, I then had to walk to another area of Radiology to get my brain MRI. So I was very glad that I wore a black t shirt, as a lighter color might have given me away sooner! As far as your test prep for next time, watch the hard candies as they contain sugar which can read funky on some scans. They will tell you no gum, candy, etc. for certain tests. I just take itsy sips of water, try to schedule the first test of the day (As for the earliest time of the day) so I can then eat right afterwards. And I take a tissue or small cloth with spearmint or peppermint oil on it (a massage therapist at a cancer wellness center recommended it for me and it does wonders) to settle my nervous stomach. My cancer was diagnosed at Stage IIIC and I went through several surgeries, sentinal node biopsy, lymphosintigraphy, PET scans, lymphadenectomy of left elbow and axilla nodes and a year of bioimmunotherapy with interferon. I am in remission now and working full time. I never thought I would get here, since the cancer had spread from the initial site (left wrist) and was so late stage when it was diagnosed. If I can come through it, you can too. Take one day at a time, one test at a time, think about what makes you happy today, enjoy it, and you will be fine, whatever the out come. Love the ones you are with, take a deep breath and fight the fight. Best regards, Ellen


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