Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I spent thirty minutes in a "tunnel" today....

....on my stomach with my head down in a headrest and not moving at all.

Sounds pleasant, eh?

Well, it was quite interesting for sure.

Today I went for a breast MRI. Even though my last mammogram was fine, it was recommended to me that I have an MRI due to: family history and dense breasts.

I took that recommendation to my intern who sent me to a surgeon who specializes in breast cancer who sent me to a "high risk breast cancer specialist".

Was I at high risk?  Not really according to her models....however, her models did not include breast density and mine were categorized as 75% dense.  The density makes the mammograms more difficult to read and sometimes misses cancerous spots.  The MRI however, is a much clearer picture that takes over 11,000 pictures that are quite precise. Density is no match for the breast MRI.

So, after much deliberation, I decided to go ahead and do it.  Insurance would pay the bulk of it and I would be left with having to pay under $500.  Since yesterday was my birthday, I decided to give myself the gift of up-to-date technology and a clear mind.

Once at the hospital, I was told to remove all clothing from the waist up.  Also, all jewelry was to be removed as well as any other metals.

An IV was inserted into my arm.  This was the dye that would help the technician view the pictures.

Heavy, old-fashioned headsets were put on me as I laid down on the platform that would roll me into the "tunnel" where the MRI would take place.  The headsets were a necessity in that the MRI noises were going to be quite loud...."like a jackhammer" the technician told me.  I was then allowed to choose a radio station to listen to while the testing was going on.  I chose "easy listening" thinking that it would relax me?

Once the testing began, the noise muffled the, I heard very little.

It was interesting being in the tunnel....staying perfectly still with my eyes closed and my head and breasts down in a padded section.  I found myself acutely aware of my breathing.  I got very thirsty and I was concerned that I might need to use the restroom before the half hour test was completed.  I had already been told that if I moved the whole test would need to be started over.  I wasn't about to move.

After a third of the test was completed, the technician checked on me through the headset.  "I'm ready for the wine" I laughingly told her. I think that she laughed too.

Two thirds later, she again asked how I was well as several minutes before the test was over.  "I am now letting the 'contrast material' to enter into your IV", she said casually.  "Oh boy", I responded....privately relieved that we were nearing the end.

My attitude in going into this diagnostic test was that I was so fortunate to have this technology available...and, hopefully, they would not find anything of concern...but, if they would probably be in the very early stages.

I was told that the radiologist would read my pictures and that I would be notified in two or three days.

You can imagine my surprise (and delight) when my Internist's nurse called me later this afternoon to let me know that my images were all clear....nothing to worry about. birthday present that I ever gave myself.  : )


Granny Annie said...

No other feeling like the joy those words bring. Congratulations!

Susan Adcox said...

I have to have MRIs every few years for my MS. I actually go to sleep in the machine sometimes. The noises are loud, but they are so repetitive that they kind of put me in a trance! Plus my appointments are usually very early in the morning.
I'm glad you got a good report.