Thursday, October 20, 2011

Every two years....

I get a Breast MRI. It all started when my mother was diagnosed at 78 years young wiht a weird kind of breast cancer. She found the tumor herself, despite having annual mammograms, and following all the protocols for those. When the tumor and her breast were removed ( within about 3 days) the surgeon said the mass had been growing for 5-6 years. To which we wondered what that mammogram had been looking at? Sorta makes you wonder. Her tissue, like mine, is dense. Many of you may also have heard the term that you have FCB, Fibrocystic Breasts. Sorta makes ya think they are all ripped and tight, eh? Well i think they are but it also makes it hard to really see the tissue when they are all dense like that.

So enter mom's oncologist. We never had a need to test for the BC gene. But we were told that we had a strong risk for breast cancer and  she strongly encouraged us to get breast mri's annualy. So of course fear hit me hard and i went for my first in 2007. I wont forget that.

I had had many MRIs...shoulder, hip, ITB, not sure what else, but anyways it was fine, you roll in, dont move, get a headset bc its so loud and listen to some radio and its over before you know it. 20 minutes tops.

When i went to the hosptial and they checked me in like an Inpatient i knew this was going to be different. I got a wrist band. I got all the gowns. I Was led back to the IV area.


WAIT A MINUTE....IV? nobody said i had to have an IV? I never had an IV when you looked at my knee or my hamstring? And then was told they do a contrast dye, to compare scans. Gulp. so now you have just increased my anxiety two fold. I Get that all set and then i get into the MRI room and realize i am going to be FACE planted in that puppy, with my girls in their own little comfy pouches. How nice. Arms at side and your eyes? Well they are looking at a white cotton face cradle. No ground, just the glmpse of the sides of the Can. Ok then. Here we go.

I am pretty sure that one took some STRONG meditative powers to get thru it. To not FREAK. OUT. and everytime they said DO NOT MOVE or we have to re do it. I moved. I am a deep breather. How can you not move your thorax when you are trying to relax and breathe deeply.

Ok jump to today...I had another one in 2009 that had to be redone bc I freaked out and before they shot the dye in (luckily) had a panic attack bc i had a head cold and i could not breathe. nice. Sorta was like an open water panic attack, no joke. But i learned from that the key to my future MRI's....

Ativan....bring it on!

Now I am no drug store, and If my hubby or I take so much as an aleve its serious. So the 4 Ativans i got from 2009 were now down to 3.5 since i cut it in half. I took 1/2 today ( i had a driver, my mom) and so i was good to go. Everything went as planned. Funny comment from Rich " I am glad you and your mom are Breast Buddies, you can hang with each other on this stuff." :) Yes we are!


Gown on. Jewelry off. IV in. ouch. Saline flush ( salty taste) lie prone ( face flat) dont move, headphones on...and BAM we are off. But after the first scan I had to tell them i needed earplugs. It was the loudest clatter i have ever heard. I really knew i would not last 40 minutes in there, so she came in and told me " DO NOT MOVE A MUSCLE. " and put earplugs in my ears for me, the headphones were useless anyways i could only hear music when the clatter stopped. I had a bit of anxiety at first. I started thinking about my breathing and trying to not move my chest but i breathe deep so i figured that if they are going to say my thorax is moving too much i will have to say " see ya" since shallow breathing to me = hyperventilate. So i kept my breathing deep and i closed my eyes and i think the ativan sorta kicked in a bit as i was just thinking about....

OPEN WATER SWIM RACES!

I know? Weird? no not really bc what skills did i use to not FREAK OUT in Madison? well the same skills i used to NOT FREAK OUT in a can face down not moving with clatter in my ears and with all the sudden COLD dye being shot into my forearm. That is enough to make you freak out too.

So why do you care about this? Maybe you dont, but I thought it would be a good learning experience for any of you that may have to get a breast MRI, or who are avoiding getting one, or who are just interested in stuff like this. All in all it takes about 45 to an hour, and then you get a ride home since even tho the meds say "use caution driving heavy machinery" i think i wanted a ride home.

I do have one area that is always sore and tender with my period, and i know that since everyone says "cancer tumors dont hurt" that this is likely a duct that is inflamed or something. But the way my life is going these days I needed this for piece of mind. I fully expect to hear " Come back in 2 years," in which case i will have my 1/2 Ativan and my earplugs ready.

Tonight I am taking my most awesome PT out for wine. She is a great person, has been so good to me, and still lets me come work out at their clinic. Yes wine. Dont worry i think the ativan has worn off....
And its a 1/2mile drive anyways!

9 comments:

Beth said...

Oh boy...that does not sound fun!!!! Glad you got through it though and of course the piece of mind it will provide is well worth it!! Enjoy your wine tonight! :)

cheryl said...

Good girl Julia, I always stay on top of all of these checks, glad when I hear my friends doing it too. From you I expect nothing less :-). Enjoy the wine!

Pedergraham said...

I have FC bre@sts, too. I am not 40 yet, but I've had all kinds of scans, ultrasounds and mammograms. Thanks for sharing your MRI story. Rich's comment is so sweet. BTW, I have a cyst (according to a plastic surgeon that I consulted) in my brea@st that gets very sore once a month. It went away for a few years and then came back. It sucks because it is right where the underwire goes-ouch! Thank goodness for soft sports bras. Hope that you get an all clear from your MRI.
Danielle

Michelle Simmons said...

Oh just your mention of Ativan made me totally nauseous. Honestly I can't even remember when they gave that to me but I do know it was not a good time in my life. I d not like that drug.

Hope your scan comes back clear! The waiting is the worst part. xoxo

Damie said...

That is a weird diagnostic test. I have never heard of that. But honestly, I have had the dye injected in me once and it was enough to really freak me out too. Something is so freaky about it. Hope everything comes back clear. And if you want one more awesome PT to take out for wine...you know who to call:)

Angela and David said...

yikes, I had no idea breast scans were so brutal. Guess I need to buck up since I've always been scared of mammograms. Never had one but I know one is in my future. Certainly hope your results come back and you got the all clear. And I hope you enjoyed that wine!

Kim said...

i'm 32 and have already had 6 mammograms and ultrasounds and 2 biopsies, and surgery :( this MRI does NOT sounds fun. praying for clean results for you julia!

thepumpkinsdiary said...

Thanks for sharing Julia, I'm fascinated by the process and what it takes. I like to be able to prepare myself with as much knowledge as possible in case I ever have to deal with something. Now I can add this one to the list! LOVE that your mom is your driver and your breast buddy!! :D

Dr. TriRunner said...

Hah what do you know - I have an MRI tomorrow. I think I've only had one withOUT the barium or contrast, so I'm pretty used to the needle. Except for the chick in Boston who flooded my entire elbow with dye. Um.. thanks.

Good for you though for keeping them regular, and I'm glad to hear you're getting a night out to unwind. And good idea about the ear plugs - I will bring some tomorrow! You're right that you can never hear the music anyways..