I got to have an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging test) test done on my brain today.
Yeah not so much. I figured out today that I think this was my 15th one in the 10 years since my MS diagnosis. I never get used to them. I might know more about what to expect but that’s about it. Something about lying in the tube (feeling like I’m either going to be abducted by aliens or lift off in a spaceship), ear plugs in my ears (to hopefully block the very bizarre sounds that come from the machinery yet it can still be quite loud–but good luck when the technicians talk to you because you probably won’t hear them and you can’t move your head so that poses a whole other challenge), with your head locked in place, on a very very flat surface (when are they going to come out with cushiony mattress and pillow-type MRIs????), what looks like a cage over your head and sometimes even earphones for music (that ends up possibly blowing out your eardrums too) just really isn’t my cup of tea. Oh and then if the doctor orders Contrast (special dye to help bring up the trouble spots in my brain) then that’s a whole other set of good times, since I have to be pulled out of the place I was stuck in only to be teased to see a bit of the outside world, to talk but have no idea how loud I’m talking (ear plugs), be talked to by the person putting the needle in my vein (let’s hope it’s in the vein because it has hit muscle before and the pain is ridiculous), and then once they’ve decided I’m all set I have to be put back in the tube. That last part is usually the hardest for me because I know I’m almost done (they do contrast at the end) and that time seems really really draggy long.
I know. Crazy to think I don’t like any of the process. Also knowing that I am in there because I have multiple sclerosis and these MRI tests are necessary as routine check ups at least every year (and sometimes even sooner depending on what’s been happening in your body) and that there is NO END in site for the disease or for these MRI tests (because even if I don’t have health insurance I will be doing my best to have these tests done) doesn’t help either.
When I’m in the tube I hate that I can’t move. It was already hard when I was healthy (or at least I think I was healthy once–don’t remember much of that) to be stuck in one position and not be able to move (not sure when I ever was not able to move now that I think about it but anyway), but with MS and lupus, if I’m not moving I get really stiff and I start to have lots of pain. Plus I’m not comfortable and I’m probably bracing myself so I don’t even move one little millimeter because I’d hate to have to do it again so then I get worn out from using up all of that energy. And I’m a bit claustrophobic so that doesn’t help me at all and I just have to try not to think too hard about where I am and try to have faith that it’s all going to work out OK. Oh and how could I forget that I can’t wear my glasses in there so then I’m blind (yes, I have contacts but I’m still learning very slowly how to wear them again–long story).
Sure these tests help doctors diagnose many issues that might be happening with our brains and other parts of our bodies. Specifically when it comes to MS, it helps doctors find out if we have any lesions (or more lesions in my case) on our brains and if so, if they’re active and then they can see if the MS has progressed or not and what to do about it if so or even if not. Sure it’s eventually over. Sure it’s not nearly as terrifying as the first MRI I had almost exactly 10 years ago.
But see that first MRI when I was 25 (10 years ago) was ABSOLUTELY TRAUMATIZING AND TERRIFYING to put it lightly. I have yet to be able to even post all of the details of that part of my Diagnosis story here on my Blog because it was so hard to deal with and I still have so many issues in regards to that whole experience. I’ll just say that I’ve never been and hope to never be stared at with such pitying eyes (as if I was going to die and things were oh so “dire”) as that first technician looked at me with because she thought I had a brain tumor which then lead me to 3 very agonizing and awful days in the hospital stuck in some Alfred Hitchcock/Twilight Zone/Ray Bradbury story of my very own as the doctor finally told me that I “might” have MS but he wasn’t really sure so I should look it up online. But I digress. That really is a whole other story.
The point I’m trying to make here is that MRIs still suck after 10 years. BUT I’ve made it through each of them. They have come a long way in 10 years. The tubes aren’t nearly as long usually for me, perhaps there’s a bit more room, they may not be as loud (hard to say since each place is so different), I do have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen, I know I can do it, I don’t have to get completely undressed and put on a gown (just had to take off my bra today or anything that had metal and was able to stay dressed–AMAZING), and I survived to write about it.
That’s something. It’s also not the hardest medical test I’ve ever had to endure.
I JUST DON’T LIKE THEM.