I thought having a mammogram was uncomfortable… let me tell you, a breast MRI is whole ‘nother something! This may be TMI (too much information) for some of you. You are forewarned! At least I didn’t include pictures.
So first you change into the metal-less garb of the imaging center. Then they start an I.V. because they are going to be injecting contrast into your vein at some point during the study. Then you lie facedown on the narrow “bed” that has two holes for your two boobs. These are big holes, because lots of people have big boobs. I, on the other hand, was blessed with my Grandma Callahan’s boobs. One of my high school friends referred to them as mosquito bites. Tiny. The poor babes just looked down into the great abyss of boob-space and sighed. But the MRI tech didn’t flinch. The part of the “bed” where the boob holes are is higher than the rest of it, so with my back arched uncomfortably because of the boob hole wedge, lying on my stomach, mosquito bites aimed at the holes, arms straight up overhead (diver style), one hand holding the button to push if I got too claustrophobic, I was slid into a narrow tube for the MRI.
What music would you like to listen to? They asked. I said 80’s music… why not… I was expecting the kind of music I listened to as I drove across the country in 1985 – road music… Wham, ABBA, Bryan Adams… music with a driving beat to go along with the anticipated noise of the MRI machine. Instead I was treated to 80’s soft rock: Air Supply’s “All Out of Love” and Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” – sweet music (hard to hear over the noise of the machine) that just didn’t cut it. I’ll know to be more specific next time.
The test took probably about 20 minutes, I don’t remember now. It seemed like forever at the time. I was wearing headphones playing 80’s soft rock, (headphones which, by the way, did not do much to filter out the banging and clanging and whirring of the MRI machine), when the voice of the tech came over the headphones and said something… who knows what. It sounded like the adults talking in a Peanuts cartoon. I hoped it wasn’t important information. Then I got this metallic taste in my mouth – aha, she was probably saying she was injecting the contrast into my I.V. Also somewhere during the process of lying there the noise of the machine went from clanging and whirring to whooping like an alarm… THAT was a little disconcerting. I may have jumped a little. Apparently that didn’t mess anything up – even though at the beginning I had been admonished to try to lie very still.
Don’t get me wrong – the tech and the nurse who took care of me during the MRI were awesome. They explained what they were doing and how long it would take, and what to do if I was having trouble. The experience itself though was… unique.
One thought on “The Journey Begins – Part 4 (the MRI)”
Janet, You have been on my mind and in my heart these last few days. I am saddened by how many women in my life are affected by breast cancer. I have watched friends and coworkers fight and win this battle, and I am confident you will too. I will follow your blog and pray for strength and healing. Miss you in Tacoma!