The MRI Diaries
I’d like to begin with a quick disclaimer: In spite of the tone of this piece please know that Ativan can be an extremely dangerous drug if not taken responsibly and the seriousness of it should never be taken lightly.
Now having said that…I got my MRI results and am very happy to report — CLEAR SCAN!!! Thank you for your encouraging words and prayers leading up to this point. I know (without a shadow of a doubt) that they made all the difference. We’re still waiting for the results of Amy’s MRA (which is like and MRI but focuses on the body’s blood vessels…If you didn’t hear about why Amy needed an MRA, read the previous post “We’re NOT going to Disneyland!” …don’t worry, it’s not too serious, but we still need your thoughts and prayers for the best results possible).
In fact it was an interesting day on Tuesday because Amy and I both had scans done an hour apart from each other. My MRI was originally supposed to be in the morning at an off site location but when I got there they told me that they didn’t have the right machine to do the type of scan that I needed (which is a whole another story but I’ll spare you the details). Fortunately, they were able to fit me in at 2 pm at the main UCLA campus which was great because not only was that where Amy’s was going to be but I already had an appointment scheduled with my Oncologist to discuss Chemo the next day and I needed the MRI to do so (by doing it this way they would be guaranteed to have the results in time). Early on in my recovery, my Oncologist prescribed me a low dosage of Ativan on an “as needed” basis to help alleviate any anxiety I might have during MRIs, Radiation, etc (now keep in mind that I’ve never taken any pills for anxiety or depression before so this is all a new experience for me) so I took one before my “morning” MRI to help take the edge off and as a result I was a Zombie for a few hours (believe me…I had no idea that a craving for human flesh was a potential side effect either). As we got to UCLA the effects of the drug had finally worn off and because what I was taking was such a low dosage I decided to take another one. When I got to the MRI waiting room I was happy to see my buddy Fernando (who transported me everywhere when I was in the hospital during surgery and is an avid reader of the blog…What up, Fernando?!) but as I waited to go in, I could feel the Ativan kicking in hardcore and when it came time to change into the hospital gown, let’s just say it wasn’t as easy as it should’ve been.
Once I was in the machine I clocked out right away and after it was done, I was completely out of it (probably from a combination of both the Ativan and being in the MRI machine). I don’t remember much of what happened after that, but Amy told me that I was very wobbly and that she pretty much had to carry me out of the room and then had to help me change back into my clothes (because I was some difficulties with balance) and that the slapstick quality of the whole experience was on par with the Tom Hanks/Shelly Long movie “The Money Pit” or any of the original “Pink Panther” films (I was glad that I could provide her with such entertainment especially since she was getting ready to have her MRA and was obviously quite nervous about it). Once I was dressed we had to immediately rush over to one of other buildings on campus so that Amy could get to her appointment on time. Amy asked me to be in the room with her as she was having it done and so as they strapped some type of board on top of her (I think it was to make it so she’d stay still) I massaged her feet (I might have also been massaging a random door knob or something…I was seriously that out of it) then gave her a kiss as she went into the machine (again, I could’ve also been kissing a random door knob). Once she was in the machine, I sat down in a nearby chair and after reading about two sentences in the book that I brought, I completely passed out. When Amy was done (which took about an hour) I was still asleep hunched over in the chair, but what Amy doesn’t know and I’m now confessing for the very first time publicly is that a few minutes before she was done I actually tipped over in my chair and hit my knees and shoulder pretty hard (not my head thank goodness). The book I was reading must have flown out of my hands when I did so because I had to walk across the room to pick it up (I guess I could’ve have also been dreaming about book burning or playing baseball or ultimate frisbee or something and thrown it then…sorta like that scene in the the Will Ferrell movie “Step Brothers”). Needless to say we both got out of there unharmed (for the most part) and are both extremely grateful for the news I received today (and in spite of some of the moments of levity that taking the medication may have created, I’ve definitely decided that I’m going to stick to my relaxation and breathing techniques for any of my MRIs from this point on).
Below you can see my scan before the second surgery and the new scan (post radiation). The “wispy white” color in the “Before” scan is tumor and the bright grey spot in the “After” scan is where the tumor was (Yes, I have a crater in my brain) and as you can see there is NO “wispy white” which is what we want (for the rest of my life). PRAISE GOD!!!
Alex (and Amy)