MRI Tips

This morning I had my MRI scan.
Better than what I was doing a year ago today.  On March 4th, 2012 I had my major surgery where they removed Johnny Carsonoma and installed Chewie.   Hard to believe it’s been a year already.

MRI was no sweat.  This was my second one. I’ve also had 6? 8?  I ‘m not sure how many CT scans.  CTs are really nothing.  You don’t actually go all the way into the machine, it’s fairly quiet, you only have to hold your breath a few short times and it’s done in about 8 minutes.  MRIs aren’t quite as easy.  Here’s a few things I’ve learned already:

1. Dress appropriately.
It’s cold in there.  All scanning rooms are.  They have to keep those big machines cool.  Today I wore sweat pants (no medal -even around the drawstring), 2 baggy longsleeve shirts, no underwire bra and slip on shoes.  While you will not be winning any fashion awards, you will also be likely to not have to put on a gown.  Even with a blanket, those gowns are cold and not very comfortable.  Also, leave all accessories at home.  You will have to take them all off.  Unless you’re going to work or something afterward, you don’t need them and this saves time getting in and out.

2. They’re gonna stick you!
Depending on the test, you ma have to get an IV put in for contrast.  If you do, know that it’s a pretty big needle they use.  They inject it fairly quickly so they need a bigger access.  I don’t even mind needles and I dislike this one.

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3. They stick you into a tube.
If you’re at all claustrophobic, this will not be fun for you.  They make you as nice and comfortable as they can on the hard little table but you have to be pretty still and there’s nothing to look at but the lights on inside of the machine that are just inces away from your face.  They do give you a panic button in case you freak out.
I like to pretend I’m in some sort of Star Wars/Star Trek machine.  It at least passes the time cause you’ll likely be in there for 20 to 40 minutes.
Here’s an explanation of the process:

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4.  Pick your music wisely.
The machine is kinda loud.  Here’s some of the sounds it makes:

They will usually give you the option of earplugs or headphones playing your favorite radio station.  Today they asked me if a certain station they had on was OK.  I didn’t care so I just said it was fine.  It turned out to be an 80s/90s station.  Normally that would be OK except they were playing songs from my formative years putting me into this weird surreal place in my mind.  Like I was a character in a sappy, made-for-TV on ABC Family movie and I was the “cancer character” getting her scan and having flashbacks to her healthy youth.  It was weird.

5. Hold your breath!
Depending on the scan you’re having you might have to hold your breath for awhile.  They tell you when to hold it and when you can let go.  A few times it’s a long time.  Today is the first time I couldn’t hold it all the way through one of them.  Hopefully they got a good picture out of it.

6.  Don’t worry, you didn’t pee your pants.
If you have to have the contrast, it will give you a warm feeling throughout your body.  Including your groin area.  It took me at least 4 scans before I was confident that I wasn’t tinkling all over the flatbed.

7. Just relax. It’s really not that horrible.

Hopefully this will never happen…

And now I wait.  I have an oncology appointment tomorrow so I’m hoping we’ll have the results by then.  It might not be until Wed.  Not holding my breath.  I did that enough today.

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