First off…this post talks about breasts and other womanly issues. If this isn’t your thing, come back tomorrow! 🙂
Soo I just got done with my first breast MRI and yeah…not that fun. Not that any MRIs are fun, but man I am glad it’s over with! Since I tried and failed with getting my MRI the first time, I made sure I was well within the 7-14 day cycle window. It is day 8 to be exact. Since I was just there a few weeks ago, they didn’t have to ask me the usual questions. I just had to sign a waiver for the dye that I was getting injected with.
I was then directed to a small dressing room and told to remove everything from the waist up, including jewelry. This made me happy because for some reason I was under the impression that I was going to be wearing just underwear and a hospital gown. I assumed the metal from my zipper wouldn’t be allowed. I was able to keep on my pants and shoes and wear a gown over my top half.
Also, I anticipated that I needed to remove my belly button ring so I brought along vaseline. I haven’t taken my ring out in years (gross?) but with vaseline it slipped right out with no issues. I guess one of these days I’ll have to get rid of it. But I’m not ready to part with my belly button ring yet!
After changing, I went to a room where the IV was inserted into my left arm. There was no needle involved, just a small catheter and tape. The end of the IV had a small opening for a syringe so there was no tube or anything. I’m not creeped out by shots or needles, but I think IVs are pretty uncomfortable and a little painful.
After a few minutes, I was brought back to the room with the MRI machine. I was directed to take off my shoes and step on a stool up onto the machine. I’m a dummy, because I tried getting onto the table with my back down even though I knew I was supposed to be on my stomach. I was nervous and not thinking right.
The technicians were both super nice and tried to keep my exposure minimal even though that’s hard because your boobs kind of have to be hanging out. Once I was on my stomach, feet first in the machine, they adjusted me so I was on the table properly – arms up over head, face down, body totally straight. Then they pulled my boobs through the little holes on the table. Then they laid my face flat on this padded plate that had little spaces for my mouth and eyes. They put ear plugs in my ears and a little panic button in my left hand.
I had to stay reaaaaaally still on the table. Then they slid me into the tube. And for like 15-20 minutes the machine did it’s thing. When I was younger, I had a MRI on my knees so I knew what to expect, but I was still surprised by how loud it was. It was really hard to zone out because of the noise. Also, the position they had me in was really uncomfortable. It was difficult to breathe because of how I was laying. I’m not scared of tight spaces, but I could see how people would panic. It was pretty nerve-wracking.
After the first set of pictures were taken, someone came in and injected the dye into my IV. It didn’t really feel like anything. The whole time it was happening, I was wishing that I could readjust. Staying that still was so difficult even though it was just for 30 minutes. Finally after what felt like an hour in the tube, they were finished. They moved the table out, took out my IV, bandaged my arm, took out my earplugs and kept me covered up all at the same time. The technicians knew what they were doing and were super efficient.
Then I was told to stand there for a minutes and get my bearings. Being in that tube was definitely disorienting. I had to take some deep breaths and collect myself. But I felt normal pretty quickly once I was able to stand and move around. They told me that the pictures would get sent to my doctor and I was allowed to leave.
Overall, it wasn’t the worse experience in the world, but out of all my BRCA-related tests, the MRI sucks the most. So I am just glad that it’s done. And since I alternate between mammograms and MRIs every six months, I won’t need another MRI until next year.
I have an appointment with my oncologist next week. I already know that my CA125 (ovarian cancer blood test) levels are normal, and my pelvic ultrasound came back normal. So hopefully my MRI turned out ok, and I will have six more months to relax until I have to do it all over again.
Even though the tests suck and it’s a pain to book 100 different appointments and face cancer thoughts every six months, I must say that my experience has been a positive one. Everyone I have met – doctors, technicians, radiologists, nurses have all been very positive and encouraging. I cannot praise Fairfax Radiology enough. I have been to four different offices for these procedures and every single person is so nice and calming. It really does make the appointments a lot more tolerable.
So that’s my MRI story. Hopefully, there are some people out there who can benefit from this post and know what to expect should they be in a similar situation.
Thanks for reading! 🙂