Not nearly as fun as it sounds.

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I am clearly not the most mature person in the world because I initially found my breast MRI rather hilarious.   For the record, the MRI and Mammogram came back clear- so I can stay on my clinical trial until its completion and the surgery will be set for the beginning of July and I won’t have to see any more doctors on that front until late March or early April.  But this MRI  is really one of the most awkwardly funny things I have ever undergone.  And trust me- I’ve had tests from my top to my toes and every private bit in between.

For those of you who have yet have the pleasure of a breast MRI, allow me to explain.  Unlike a mammogram where you stand up and they adjust the boob smasher to fit you for imaging- and seriously- they flatten those suckers out to the point where I am pleasantly surprised when they regain their natural appearance- but with an MRI you lay face down on the machine in which there are two large cut out squares where your boobs hang through.  Just try placing these pendulous masses into the squares and not immediately breaking into “do your boobs hang low, do they wobble to and fro:, etc..”.  But as I was at the very classy women’s imaging center at UCLA, I thought it unwise to be a smart ass.  Now- the not so nice part of this MRI- and again, keep in mind, I am VERY comfortable in an MRI machine.  I have a minimum of one per year to track my MS progression and while undergoing the Estriol clinical trial I have been having them as often as  every three months- so I’m all good with the banging, siren blaring, enclosed tube of torture.  I usually fall asleep after an initial period of anxiety which I get through by imagining Santiago laughing hysterically at something.  It works like a charm.

But there was something about the body position on this MRI and the fact that to keep my arms in place, the technician strapped them in, so it was rather like laying face down in a straitjacket that had cutouts for my boobs.  I could also feel my breath quicken as I was lying on my stomach and so each inhale raised my body away from the table slightly.  I was anxious in a way that is unusual for me and of course, being who I am, I analyzed the hell out of it once I left the doctor’s office.  Over the week that followed, there were numerous events that skirted around the periphery of the upcoming surgeries, and I allowed each thing to make me more and more anxious.   The MRI- which seemed like a funny story to tell, settled in as the first of a long line of things that made me uneasy.

And here’s what I came to.  I am not comfortable being afraid or being perceived as fearful or trepidatious when it comes to medical tests- or anything medical for that matter.  I want everyone to look at me and say, “wow- she’s so tough and none of this seems to phase her and isn’t she superwoman?”  Most of all, I want to believe it of myself.  But I get to the end of a week like this one that began with the bondage MRI and will end with setting dates to sign consents, choosing who holds my power of attorney and  figuring out my will and I think that the title of superwoman is something I might have achieved once upon a time, but for now I’m just going to have to settle with anxious lady with less than average resolve.

And suddenly I feel relief.  The guard slips a bit, I tell my friend Rachel  that I’m afraid- that this might complicate my MS in an irreversible way, and that the idea of menopause at 40 totally blows because my doctor said I might find I don’t have the same sex drive- and sorry mom and dad who are reading this- but that happens to be something of which I am a HUGE fan.  And once I say it out loud- pass it on to someone who will love me even if all of these things are true- it makes it less potent, less painful.  Less of the whole truth and more just another side of all of the aspects that come into play with something of this magnitude.  So I post this because sometimes I have to admit that it’s not a walk in the park, so that someone reading this who is dealing with the same thing doesn’t feel like they have to be superwoman, so I don’t have to be superwoman and instead I can ask for a cup of tea, a kiss on the forehead and a reminder that it’s okay to not always find the humor in a shitty situation.  But come on- how can one not giggle at “do your boobs hang low?”

  1. love you just a little bit more…………………… You forgot to mention the damn needles. If they stick one more in me, either taking out or putting it…..I AM GOING TO HIT SOMEONE!!!!!!!

  2. mmmm… pendulous masses… HUH?! What-? Oh- (ahem) yes…

    What I was saying was… bravery is not the absence of fear or anxiety- its a quality that helps a person function in the face of things that could unravel them. Finding the funny stuff is one of those tools that gets a person through. So is acknowledging your fear.

    That, especially for you, is very hard. And you’ve just been, even more than usual, very brave.

    And healthy.

    Because it’s the first step that enables someone to genuinely put their anxiety in its place- as opposed to under the carpet where inevitably, when you’re in the midst of something else, it can leap back out in the open. The benefit of “emotionally” making sense of something versus only intellectually is that the fear does not go away, but you know which drawer you put it in. You have a better chance of hearing it coming.

    The expression is something like “It’s the dragons that have been named- only those are the ones you can command to sit, roll over, stay, and play dead.” And to which I add- “Get back in your drawer.”

    Being afraid totally makes sense. But being isolated with that fear doesn’t- especially when many, many people love you and care about you and would like to do something so you don’t need to carry all that anxiety around with you- Luckily you’re pleasant to listen to (I’ve been told) and they can help if you let them.

    Let them. (Except in the MRI- there’s only room for you and the ladies in that contraption and if you try to stuff it like a phone booth, I may be the only person who’d find that funny- there MAY be a few more, but I’d doubt they’d work for the hospital.)

    As usual, nice blog entry. And I’m proud of you, too… even if you’re scaredy cat…

    (I will not use an emoticon),

    • Yeah “I don’t know, some random chicken (doesn’t know anything, don’t pay him no mind)”–I second your sentiments on anxiety and bravery. Absolutely. You can’t slay the dragon if you deny its existence.

      Amy, I love you. And I admire how you are acknowledging the yucky feelings that are, like or not, there. Cause it’s like you said, they don’t just go away if we ignore them. Instead, they fester, and turn into OCD or BSC (Bat Shit Crazy).

      BTW, isn’t it interesting how many drugs there are on the market to enhance men’s sex drives? How many are there for women?

      Can you tie ’em in a knot? Can you tie ’em in a bow?

      Keep the entries comin’!

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