I’ve been symptom free for a while now with the exception of complete blindness in my right eye and some numbness in the legs. I also have permanent exhaustion, but I don’t consider any of these truly “bad” symptoms in that I’m still able to enjoy life. I sleep through most of it, but I enjoy it.
In December of 2014 I saw my neurologist and he decided that we should do a complete MRI on my brain and spinal cord since it’s been about 3 years since I’ve had one. So in January, I finally got the nerve up to get one done.
Gosh, I hate those things. Seriously, I hate them. I’m so claustrophobic that I’m worried I’ll have panic attacks in there, so I put them off. In fact, I’ve been known to cancel appointments because I’m so afraid to go. I am a true sufferer of panic attacks. I wouldn’t wish one on my worst enemy, and putting myself into a situation that causes panic attacks for the “normal” person, is just not my thing to do, but it had to be done, and I did it.
The first thing to do when I have an MRI (other than pee 1,000,000 times before I get on the table) is to go over paperwork to make sure I’m who I say I am. I get to wear a beautiful gown and some awesome comfy pants (seriously, I wish I had a pair of my own).
Next I hop on the machine. The foam pillow she has there goes under my knees and the blanket just came out of the warmer – my favorite part of being in the hospital is those warm blankets they let us use. They are so warm and soft. I love those things!
Our MRI machine allows me to listen to music. I can bring my own, but I prefer to let the technician put his playlist in – he’s got great taste in music. ❤ I enjoyed listening to Rush – one of my favorite bands while I was in high school and college. It helped me keep my mind off of things while I was in there. I was told the test should run about 3 hours, but they got me out in about 2:15 minutes including me changing my clothes.
Next they put a mask over my face. It doesn’t touch my face, nor does it block my vision, but I prefer to not look inside the machine (it’s very tight in there) so I ask them to put a washcloth on my eyes just in case I open them up and start to panic. While it’s light in there, I still don’t like enclosed spaces. From what I understand, the cage is used to help reduce stimulation and movement. It doesn’t really keep my head still though. During long exams like this one, my head tends to really hurt, so I take Ibuprofen and Xanax before I get into that machine.
Next I am lifted and slid into the machine. It looks like I’m hovering there, but I’m not. I’m laying down trying to be comfortable. See those lights above the machine? Those are cherry blossoms. They are lovely. I’m sure if I ever have an MRI on my feet or legs, I’d be able to appreciate them, but for now, the inside of the machine is all I’ll see.
Half way through the MRI, I am brought out for contrast. Here I am given a shot in the vein and slid back in for more pictures. The contrast can make you hot and sweaty, but I noticed nothing other than a slight burn as it went through my veins. No big deal.
Now, I was scheduled to have an MRI on my spine too, so they allowed me to take a small break between scans so I could pee (I have a bladder the size of a pea). Here they are making me comfortable so I can go back in for round two.
They slide me back in the machine. By this time, I am completely calm (I’ve been there over an hour) and kind of enjoying the ride. If you’ve never had an MRI, it can be quite a scary thing. The machine makes a lot of noise and rocks frequently. Sometimes the rocking can be quite jarring. When I first had MRIs, this rocking would scare me, but now I try to enjoy it. I try to imagine out driving on a rocky road with my family, or laying on my husband’s boat in the summer. This time, I threw in being on the Buzz Lightyear ride at Disney World. It worked. I had no panic while I was in there.
It’s time to get out – I’ve survived another MRI. We snuck around the corner and looked at the scans that were just done. My husband is a doctor, so thankfully, we were able to do that (not sure if you can do that without a doctor present). The tech (who is awesome. I’d name his and his assistant’s names, but I don’t have their permission) showed us the difference between my 2010 scan and my 2015 scan – NO LESION! Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have residual symptoms, nor does it mean I’m NMO free. It just means I don’t currently have any lesions in my brain, nor on my spinal cord. I’m thrilled as punch!
So that’s a little about having an MRI. Do I like them? No. Do they scare me? At first – yes, but when I get used to being in there, I’m fine. Would I like to do one every day? No, but I’m thankful for the great doctors, both local and at Mayo, and our wonderful hospital that have taken good care of me.
So long for now!
My next post will be about my awesome trip to Los Angeles – a preview – broken brakes, train derailment, bomb threat, hugs and tears.