Just a few days after that dreaded call from my surgeon telling me that the cyst aspirate which was supposed to be nothing was, in fact, cancer, I went to the hospital for my very first MRI. Besides the whole cancer thing, I’m very healthy, and I’ve never had a broken bone, so I’d never even contemplated the idea of having and MRI. I talked to the people from nuclear medicine and was sure to follow their instructions and get there plenty early, doctor’s order in hand. My surgeon asked if I wanted her to write a script for Xanax, but since I’d never had a problem with claustrophobia, I assured her I’d be fine.
I showed up wearing my favorite white jeans and a pair of high heeled gladiator sandals. Sally and I were going out to lunch after that, and I wanted to feel good about how I looked. (My hair looked great, too. I can remember so many people telling me how beautiful my hair looked. I know they were being nice. But salt in the wound, ok, people?)
Anyway, I should have thought it through a little better. An MRI is basically a giant magnet that they stick you into, so of course, you can’t wear jeans with all the metal rivets and zipper inside. I put on a hospital gown and walked barefoot to the exam room. It gets pretty cold in the exam room, so they wrapped me up like a burrito in warm flannel sheets. My husband (and probably my college roommates!) will tell you that I like it to be cold when I sleep, I’m a shorts and a tee year round kind of girl. The idea of flannel sheets that have been warmed and then tucked in all around me just makes me shudder. Ick. I don’t know why I didn’t say something from the start. For a breast MRI, you lay on your stomach with your arms Superman style ahead of you, so the kind nurse wrapped them up, too. And it’s super loud, so they stick in ear plugs. Then they back you into the tiny tube. At which point I had my first major freak out. I’m pretty sure I was hyperventilating, and this usually unflappable gal had to make the technician extract her from the tube post haste. After a few tears and many apologies, I finally convinced them that I could not go back in the tube all wrapped up like that. So we took off nearly all the blankets (maybe every last one), I took a deep breath, said a quick but fervent prayer, and back in I went. I did relatively well, though by the end of the nearly 40 minute exam, I started to get pretty cold, and was scared to death that my shivering was going to mess up the part when they add contrast, which is “the most critical part” for which you must lay absolutely still. The thought of doing it all again the next day was enough to keep the shivering pretty much at bay, and I managed to get through it.
The next time I went in for an MRI, I was much more prepared. See, if you wear stretchy pants with no metal parts and socks, you get to leave them on! If I had to go back tomorrow, (which I don’t, for the record) I’d be wearing my fave yoga pants*, a shirt that reminds me I’m strong, and some happy socks. (I don’t own these socks, but if I have to go back in that tube, I think I deserve to be wearing a pair of socks whose brand is Happy Socks.) Dressed all casual and comfy like that, Dior Addict Lip Glow is the way to go– more of a lip balm that looks like my natural lip color, only better.
Oh, and I forgot to include one thing in the picture. The Xanax. If a doctor ever offers you Xanax, you go ahead and take it. My second MRI was so much better, and I’m sure the pants and the socks helped. But also, the Xanax.
*These pants are on sale right now, and I’m fighting the urge to stock up. Seriously, they’re worth every penny.