Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Will the cancer screenings ever end?

 This morning I was scheduled for an MRI. At my recent visit to see the oncologist, he was concerned about my mentioning an increase in spine and hip pain, so he scheduled more testing. I was thankful he was being proactive but was concerned about the financial end of it. MRIs are expensive. 

I arrived at the imaging center about fifteen minutes early. After signing in and paying my 20% portion, I sat down. I wasn't expecting to pay that large amount. Thankfully, I had tucked a credit card into my wallet just in case. 

When the technician called me back, she asked if I had any metal in or on my body. I didn't. I'd been through this before and knew to remove all metal from my clothing and on my body. She showed me to a locker room where I could store my things and then took me to the imaging room. 

In front of me was the big, ugly torture chamber. I'm very claustrophobic and struggle to make it through testing. I asked the tech how long I'd be in the tube, and she said, "Probably about an hour and 45 minutes." Wow! I wasn't expecting that either and questioned her. She said, "You'll be having 3 MRIs today - one on your cervical spine, one on your thoracic spine, and one on your right hip." Oh, joy. That explained the large amount I had to pay at the front desk - 3 testes instead of one. 

I'd taken half an anxiety pill before arriving at the center. I knew it was going to be stressful being in the machine. I couldn't stand having the sides pressed tight against me and feeling entombed. The medication helped for about the first 30 minutes of testing and then it wore off. 

I kept my eyes closed the entire time. I didn't want to see how close the machine was to my face. Thankfully they had air flowing through the tube so I didn't feel like I couldn't breathe but the earplugs and headphones did little to muffle the large metal ball banging sounds as the scans commenced. 

The tech had told me she'd play some music through the headphones for me and asked what kind I liked. I told her Boney James and she said she'd find some on Pandora before starting the test, but I guess she forgot. 

When I started to get anxious, I pressed the emergency call button and asked her how much longer I'd be in the tube. She said another hour. I asked if I could come out a few minutes reposition myself. My hip was hurting so badly on the hard table. 

She slid me out and said my timing was perfect. After I'd gotten a little more comfortable, she said she was about to perform the hip study. Positioning a foam block between my ankles, she turned them inward and then strapped them together with a long velcro strap. Next, she placed some sort of frame over my hips and slid me back into the tube. 

I didn't think I'd ever get out. I lay there and prayed as the banging continued. When she finally slid me out of the tube, a took a high sigh of relief. 

It took a few minutes to get up off of the table. My hip and back were hurting but also, I was dizzy. Managing to move into a sitting position, I sat on the side of the table for a few minutes as she prepared a disk for me. The disk would have all of the images loaded and I could look through them if I wanted. They'd also send a copy to the doctor. 

When I got home, I popped the disk into my computer. The images loaded and I began to look at them. It was interesting to see inside my body. There were some things I recognized and some I didn't. 

Hopefully, in the next day or two, my oncologist will give me a report of the findings. I'm curious to hear what the test showed. I guess the next step will be to see an orthopedic doctor for the pain, but I'm not sure. 

There were some odd white blobs on the cross section of my brain. Those were quite concerning and have me wondering if I possibly have a brain tumor like my grandmother did. I pray not! 

Anyway, now I play the game of hurry up and wait. I'm not a very patient person. I guess God is trying to teach me that lesson. Maybe I learn it one of these days. 

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