So, I was told by many that the MRI machine was loud, that they would have me lay face down and my breast would be "cradled" in coils, and that I would "be the filling I a big cannoli".
So let me try and describe what to "expect" of you are reading this hoping to be better prepared (then me of course).
First, I was asked to change into one of the lovely hospital gowns with snaps on the shoulders and it open in the front. They would have given me hospital pants (didn't know they had those), but the girl looked at me and said they don't have any comfortable ones for me (aka big enough for me). Lucky for them my mom told me to wear my stretchy lounge pants that don't have any metal in them..score I got to keep my own bottoms on!!
Second, they led me down the hall to a room with a second smaller room MRI room inside of it and opened the big pressure release door to reveal the actual MRI machine.
But what I wasn't really prepared for was the contraption the were going to have me lay in with my breast hanging down through openings, that were not coils and they were not cradled. The breasts were fine, it was the sloping portion of the machine that went from my belly to my chests and all the pressure hit my ribs and sternum. It was uncomfortable instantly and pain started to radiate through my back. But I am pretty sure I could have handled the physical discomfort and the two attempts to insert an IV in me so they could eventually release a liquid contrast that would help them better photograph the girls... however, it was the mental part that eventually knocked me sideways.
You are asked to NOT MOVE at all or run the risk of having to start the process again. They do give you a panic button, but again warn you that if they have to stop I will have to return another day.
|This is not me...but what I would have looked like had someone taken a photo. |
The bed is lifted up once the patient is in position and fed into the tube feet first.
This photo doesn't show her with an IV for the contrast solution or the panic button.
|Here's a side view with clothed model...still not sure if arms |
up over head or down along sides would have been better.
One note worth mentioning is I do experience PANIC attacks on occasion. It seems to be when I am stuck in a situation or location that I cannot see or understand the EXIT...like being shoved in the Vatican with thousands of people shoulder to shoulder and not knowing how to get out (yes this really happened). I am not sure if I would call it claustrophobia or not, but the panic attack is not the funnest side affect of being in this situation.I did start to experience the onset of a panic attack but held it together and totally lost it when I got to the dressing room. I couldn't talk to my mom until we got out to the car and I'm not sure she completely understood me until I stopped crying.
So the process of having an MRI takes about 45-60 minutes from set-up to finish. The actual "hold still" is done in chunks of time that are 4, 5 and 9 minute chunks and alone would be tolerable but the longest chunk of time is at the end when you are completely stressed, tired and want out. It probably was good I was face down, I couldn't see how tight the fit was as far as being the "filling in this metal cannoli"...but I could "feel" my butt and back touch the top of the interior of the machine and kept telling myself it really wasn't that small.
In hindsight I do believe my tendency to experience panic attacks probably was what resulted in my not so fun experience. But I will tell you the next time (if there is one) I am going to request some Valium or anti-anxiety meds and the biggest MRI they have (UofU has two sizes and I am sure I was in the smaller one). Oh and I'm not going to do the "calming" music mix of Adell and Sara Barellis...I'm going full on PINK. I think louder upbeat music with a bit of rebelliousness to it would have help A LOT!