“Have you ever had an MRI done before?”
It takes everything I have not to bust out laughing. Yeah, kinda. Let’s see……I’ve had 6 surgeries, including a hip replacement and I have an inoperable brain tumor. You could say I’ve had an MRI or two.
But I get that the techs are required to go through the same questionnaires and steps every single time, and I try to be a good patient so I walk through all the yeses and nos on the questionnaire. Yes, I have tattoos and piercings, yes I am aware of the risks, yes I have taken all my jewelry off and out, no I’m not claustrophobic, yes I understand the test. Music? I’m easy, how about classic rock. (This facility seems to put a Journey CD in, or at least they have the last 3 times. Fine with me, I like Journey.) Okie dokie, on the table, here’s your call button and earphones, clamp down the aiming thingamabobs and in we go!
The crazy protect-them-from-radiation-and-magnetic-fields-but-keep-me-in-the-room door closes and I take a deep breath. This is a C-spine MRI, requested by my pain specialists. Now that my inoperable brain tumor has been threatened with radiation and told to be quiet, we’re moving on to radio-frequency ablation for the pain in my neck and it’s been over 2 years since my last set of scans on my C-spine (or cervical spine, or neck vertebrae if you want the easy description). Doc needs to see what the bones in my neck are doing so he can burn the right nerves and hopefully relieve some pain.
The tech comes on over the earphones and says everything will be starting shortly. Okay. Deep breath. It occurs to me that this is the rest of my life. For how ever many years I have left, I will always have: my primary care manager (or in my case: traffic director), endocrinologist (because for added fun I have an autoimmune thyroid disorder, but it’s pretty easily beat into submission most of the time), pain specialists, and now (courtesy of previously mentioned inoperable (stupid) brain tumor) a neurologist, an oncologist, and a neurosurgeon. Sigh…..this is ridiculous.
Music starts, the machine clanks and whirs and vibrates. Twenty or so minutes later, I get to get out of there.
At least the images tell me I’m not crazy. There’s a bulging disc between C5 and C6 which likely accounts for the pain in my neck and the numbness and tingling down my arm and in my fingers.
This is me laying flat on my back in the machine and the image is from the front down, meaning those are my collar bones you see across the bottom of the image. My neck isn’t straight. This is what Cerivcal Spondylosis looks like. In simple terms it means the discs between the vertebrae are “drying out” and I have arthritis in my neck. There’s more to it, but that’s the easiest way to describe it.
So, hopefully my pain docs will get the images and the report and we’ll be able to schedule the radio-frequency denervation (burn the nerves to those joints to shut them up). The interesting part of this, and a new experience for me, is that my pain specialist has to contact my oncologist and possibly my neurosurgeon or neurologist to clear me for the procedure.
To quote a previous blog and an occasional meltdown: “Who the hell lives like this?!?!”
I lost count a long time ago of how many IVs I’ve had, and now I’m starting to lose count of how many CTs/MRIs/stick-me-in-some-machine-I-don’t-know-the-name-of I’ve had.
Good thing I’m not claustrophobic! 😉