The day after my meeting with Dr. Keller, I had an MRI. I was told that the MRI is to check that the cancer isn’t anywhere else. As soon as the penny dropped and I realized the MRI is to determine which type of Ductal Carcinoma I have, I started to become a little concerned. Up until this point I had felt very strong and in control. I was positive and ready to ride the rollercoaster with strength and dignity. But this was testing my control button.
The morning before the MRI appointment I started thinking about the different types of ductal carcinoma; What if it’s not DCIS? I started to cry, but caught myself. If I let myself cry, I’ll lose it and become a wet soggy mess. When I stop crying I’ll be no better off than I was before because I don’t know what I have. I can cry when I know which ductal carcinoma I have;
- if its DCIS I can cry with relief and plan the next year
- if its Invasive DC I am allowed to ball my eyes out, feel sorry for myself before I recompose and plan the next steps
The time waiting for results stressed me, I hardly slept, I hardly ate, I had lost 5 lbs in less than a week. I photographed the biopsy site and my boobs.
This has been the scariest part of the process so far, and this is nothing compared to what is coming. The actually MRI was not a particularly good experience, but overall it wasn’t bad and only lasted 18 minutes. I walked out with all my current history and a disc for the surgeons consult on Monday. The MRI report should be available Friday.
After talking with a friend that freaked out when she had her MRI, I thought I should provide some more detail regarding how I coped with my MRI. I was very focused and understood the noise may freak me out. I was also told that they would inject contrast dye at the beginning and halfway through. Sometimes people get a little queazy after the second dose of contrast dye. There is a panic button you can press to stop the MRI if you have a panic attack, or feel like you are going to throw up in the MRI machine…they really don’t want you to do that.
I am the queen of throwing up, there isn’t a mode of transport I haven’t puked on (yes that includes train, plane and boat). I’m also a fainter when I’m in pain or a situation I can’t deal with; I check-out with no warning.
I realized I needed to meditate or focus on something during the MRI. It had to be something that I could cling to when the noise was bad or I had some of those “I can’t believe I’m here” thoughts. As luck would have it I didn’t eat breakfast so I had hope I could get through it. I was given little ear buds and a headset so the operator could talk to me. She asked what type of music I wanted to listen too. I chose current music in the charts. Thinking back, that is probably what saved me from any mishaps.
I was rolled into the MRI, face down with my boobs hanging down. I had my hand on the panic button. My head and arms were resting on the table and overall it was comfortable. The MRI started, it was loud and sounded like a jackhammer was hitting a large pipe. How freaking weird. The sound changed to a different tempo, then to a hammer on a smaller pipe. How could something that is basically taking 3D x-rays sound so freaking loud. I could just hear the music in the background. The second song started, Taylor Swift, Shake It off. I sang to myself and shut out the clanging noise. The song stopped and the noise got really loud and I could feel it affecting me a little. I did not want to be here, the repetitive noise was making me very uneasy. The next song started, I realized I must be 6 or 7 minutes into the MRI. A song is about 3 minutes. I started to count songs. At the 10 minute halfway point I was on the 4th song. I congratulated myself on not freaking out. I heard a voice in the headset ask if I was okay and they were going to add the second dose of contrast dye and it may sting. It didn’t sting, a rush of cold went through my veins and down my arm to my fingertips.
Next song. Stay calm, relax, don’t twitch. Deep breaths, ignore the annoying sound. Next song, number 6, almost done. I clung to every note of the song, the chorus, the guitar solo, the backing singers. I was starting to struggle, and then the noise stopped. The voice in the headset congratulated me, it was all over.
I sat in the waiting room for 10 minutes while I calmed down. I when sat in my car for another 10 minutes. I did it, it’s over. I survived, yeay me.