It's been 4 days since my MRI and 7 days since this journey started. I'm currently sporting 6 bruises from the needle sticks from attempts to inject contrast into my tiny veins during my MRI (only 2 of which were successful). I learned that, yes, you can actually feel your veins collapse when there is a needle stick into them. And it stings MUCH more than the needle did in the first place. I'm sporting another bloom of purple, blue, and yellow on my upper arm where the the lap tech took some blood a week ago. (For the record, it took her 2 tries.) So that averages out to more than a poke/day for the last week. Whew! I've learned that I should discourage them from poking my hands. Turns out that does some damage that may or may not heal, so typing for long periods of time has left my left hand (which was poked 4 times) rather painful, but nothing a little Advil won't kill.
This time, I was treated to an Open MRI machine. The results are sitting in my chart, gnawing away at me as I await my MD's review of them. The experience, however was somewhat different than my 2010 MRI experience. The machine reminded me of 2 flying saucers. I was on that table in the middle of it (which moves around to help them get the images). It was kind of a cool experience, but I can't say it was really 'less claustrophobic' than my first MRI (in a good ol' fashioned tube). My nose was still only about 4 inches away from the top of it.
Like the first MRI experience, I like my mind wander and stayed 'in the moment' as much as possible. I looked around (without moving my head, of course), and wondered if the scratches on this machine were from shipping, or from people losing their marbles and trying to claw their way out. I closed my eyes for a while and imagined what sort of movements the magnets inside the machine must be making to make such a racket (even with headphones and earplugs, I could still hear the clicking, whirling, and thudding of the machine).
I was looking forward to the break of getting the contrast material injected. Yes, 'looking forward to' and 'injected' don't usually go together. After 30 + minutes of lying still, my legs started to twitch, which isn't good when you're supposed to be still. You think of crazy things like, "I wonder if they can tell I'm starving right now?" or "I wonder if they can tell I have gas?" (For the record, I think they can, but were kind enough not to say anything. And yes, that was supposed to be funny.)
There were 3 things I found particularly awesome about this experience - which just goes to prove "Some days, it's the little things" -
1) They let me keep my socks on! I don't know about you, but NOTHING makes an uncomfortable, nerve wracking medical procedure WORSE than having freezing cold feet. I learned this during my last surgery. I was SO grateful they gave me socks to put on - as other women in the recovery room were complaining about freezing feet.
2) The techs! The ladies there couldn't have been more awesome... well, they could have found a vein sooner. That sucked, but they were all so nice and kept me informed via the headphones. That "Okay, 10 more minutes. How are you doing?" really helped pass the time and made me feel like I wasn't forgotten floating on a table - the human cream filling in a flying saucer sandwich.
3) Being able to BEND my arms! This was the major perk of the open MRI to me. Last time, I didn't know what to do with my arms. The inside of the MRI was hot, so keeping my arms by my side was tough since they brushed the hot machine. But this time, I could bend them and rest them on my chest. Very relaxing. I didn't have to think about their twitching ruining the image.
I got some other really great news as well. My CA 125 (an ovarian cancer tumor marker test that is pretty new to the medical community - so it's not completely understood yet) was MUCH lower than pre-surgery 2010! A "normal" range is considered to be under 30 by most MDs (though, disclaimer here, the test is not yet completely understood and standardized). My last reading was AT 30, which is why the tumors on my ovary had to be taken care of ASAP - and why that ovary was removed.
Last week's number was a ground breakingly LOW (for me) of 11! That's pretty huge and made me very happy. So whatever these tumors are, odds are they are BENIGN and bothersome and not going to kill me. My Sailor is very happy not to have to entertain thoughts of being a widower at 30, and I'm happy that one possible diagnosis has been crossed off the list!
This afternoon I go in for a talk with the doctor about the MRI results. He now has all the records from my past that I've spent a few days gathering, and a more complete picture of what's going on. So we'll go from there!
Ironically, my job just started offering me as much overtime as I can handle which, with a wedding coming up, and probably surgery (for which I don't have enough PTO to cover a week off yet) hot on it's tail, I'm really grateful!
Time to get to hammering it all! I can't wait to get back into working out regularly too. One thing all this girly stuff does is really limit things like running, dancing, etc. Jolting movement sort of sucks right now. But there are always walks! And Paleo starting next month! (More on that later!)