Today was the day (Booby Tuesday) to have an MRI scan. That’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and it produced a much more detailed image of my tumour and breast than the scans (mammogram and ultrasound) I have had so far. It made maps of my baps.
I’ve had two MRIs before – one in 2005 of my brain when I was hit in the eye by a firework, and one about a year ago of my broken ankle – so I know the drill. Or at least, I thought I did. This one was a little different.
The bag full of notebooks to keep me entertained while waiting proved unnecessary, as I was seen straightaway. First of all: get undressed – for an MRI, this includes taking off my rings and removing my false eye. Then, once gowned, run through some questions with the nurse – previous operations, medical conditions, etc. There was barely enough room on the form to fit it all in: the nurse managed it with the help of some sideways writing.
The difference between this and previous MRIs is that they used a traceable dye to get an even clearer image. The first step for this was a canula (shunt) in my left hand. That hurt, but at least feeling a bit of a prick made a welcome change from feeling a right tit.
But for a moment, all my bravado and jocularity threatened to desert me as it finally hit me that I am in for some very unpleasant treatment over the next few months. It was quite a moment, a kind of emotional crash. Still, it didn’t last long, as the pain soon subsided, and the next sight that greeted me was hilarious.
Honestly, the thing you have to lie on for a breast MRI is the most humour-inducing contraption I have seen since the dog had to wear the cone of shame. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let me take a photograph of it from inside the room, as the magnets would have sucked my smartphone into oblivion, so up there is a glimpse from just outside the door. You lie face down on that table thing. You can see at the bottom left of the picture a hole in the table thing that looks like a toilet seat: that’s where your head goes. To the right of it in the picture are two further holes, into which you dangle your boobs. Yes, really. One hole for each boob. There is some very comfortable cushioning around them, but as you are going to be there for around half an hour, feel free to ask for extra cushions. I did. And a blanket over my tootsies. I was in the veritable lap of luxury by the time they started.
The first twenty minutes were just fine. The machine makes a series of noises so loud you wear headphones. It was a cacophony of beeps, buzzes, toots and whirrs – a bit like a hyperactive swarm of bees playing pinball. And every time I swallowed it sounded like an old-fashioned phone ringing in my ears. Very entertaining. So far, so good.
Then they put the dye in through the canula. They had warned me that I might feel it going in and spreading down my arm. Fine – been there, done that. But as it turned out, the feeling was rather more dramatic. I felt like a pint glass being filled from the bottom up. My abdominal muscles started twitching and I felt woozy and nauseous. I nearly squeezed the squeezy thing they had placed between my fingers in case of problems, but figured I was just being a wuss and this was perfectly normal.
It turned out that it wasn’t normal, but neither was it problematic. And neither it is problematic that when I stood up when it was all done, I nearly fell over again. Cool, that’ll do. But I wish I’d known that beforehand. And now you have read this blog post, you do know that. Blog job done.