On Friday, I had to get up early (after the hullabaloo of T-giving) and go for an MRI. Now first off, the major radiology place in our area has multiple locations. With my MRI visit, I've now been to three (you think I'd just be able to go to the same one each time) but different locations, different equipment and different levels of ease to get an appointment. So on Tuesday though, Chris and I drove to this "new" one to drop off my films (I carry them wherever I go now), my prescription and yet to allow another picture of my insurance card, so they'd be all ready for me on Friday.
Woke at about 6:30 on Friday, showered, had too much coffee and hit the road at 7:15 for my 8:00 appointment (even with dropping the stuff off ahead of time, I still needed to be there at 7:45 for the 8:00 appointment). I walk in, only one other person is in the waiting room, and they copy my insurance card, yet again, and give me a clipboard of forms to fill out (first off, two I had already filled out twice, once at each other location and second, why couldn't they just give these to me when I popped by on Tuesday?). Before I can even get halfway through the first form, I'm called into the back.
My tech introduces herself (sorry I don't remember her name), gives me a locker, inspects my pants (they had told me ahead of time to wear loose, comfortable clothes, so I was in sweats), pronounces them okay, and gives me two gowns to put on top (the first to open in the front, the second as a robe, opening in the back). I go into the changing room, do my strip tease, put on the lovely gowns and emerge, throwing my coffee and all my clothes and reading material into the locker).
It's about 15 seconds before the tech returns and takes me into the back, where I meet Mary the nurse, who explains the process to me and starts my IV. Yep, I had another IV; I'm a veritable pin cushion. But I have to give props to Mary - she stuck me in the side of my wrist, pretty painless and absolutely no bruising! I think I want to take Mary with me now on for all my pin pricks.
So people (i.e., my Dad) warned me about the MRI - you have to stay completely still, you're in this tiny, enclosed space for between 30 and 45 minutes, and it's loud! Well, Dad never had a breast MRI (which I think now, I would pay to see). Mary explained it to me, and she was right, I had to laugh when I saw the contraption.
It's a regular, old MRI tube (like you may see on some medical dramas), but you don't lie on your back when you have a breast MRI. You lie on your stomach, with your head in these little grips (think like a massage table), and your legs slightly elevated. And where do your boobs go? Well, the Ladies Auxiliary dangle down, in this little "holder" that hangs below the table - imagine a hole in the table, with little boob cups underneath. So there I lay, for 40 minutes or so, with my hands extended straight over my head, a pillow just under my ankles and my boobs a dangling. The good thing though, because you're on your stomach, looking down, you never realize you're in that tiny enclosure.
Oh, and it is loud! It whirs and beeps and sounds like a jack hammer off and on, during the procedure. They gave me head phones, and played the music of my choice (I went with top 40 this time), and while the music gave me something on which to focus (I counted songs, figuring between 2.5 and 3 minutes a song, I could guestimate how long I was in the machine and how much longer I had), the music does not drown out the other noise.
It does though drown out the voices of the techs, and I found it hard to hear them when they were checking up on me, and when they were letting me know about the contrasting agent.
Yes, the contrasting agent, which brings me back to that IV. At first, I was just getting a saline drip, but near the end, they injected the agent into me, through the IV. They had warned me that when that happened, I would feel a cold sensation moving up my arm as the agent moved threw my blood I guess and lit up my boob. They weren't kidding. I lost the sensation as the stuff reached my shoulder though (so don't know where else it went throughout my body).
Oh, forgot to mention, they were just checking the left boob - to make sure nothing got missed on the mammogram, to get a clean picture of it for comparison purposes in the future, and to give me a bit of piece of mind.
All in all, when they came in to get me out of the machine, I thought it had gone pretty quick (who knows, maybe I fell asleep). I was in and out of there in less than 60 minutes (and that includes the five more minutes it took to finish filling out those forms I hadn't finished before the procedure), and I think that probably was the easiest procedure to date.
Oh, and one last word of advice, don't drink too much coffee before you have an MRI ... or at the very least, use the restroom first.