The MRI is fine, I’ve had several. Unless you have restless leg syndrome, a cold or something that makes you cough/sneeze or move involuntarily then there really is only one job. Stay still. Lying on your front in the “superman” pose, with arms above your head is probably one of the least comfortable but certainly manageable. It is loud. Last time the earphones weren’t covering my ears properly and I found it too loud to even hear the radio playing in the background at all. The difference with the biopsy is that you get moved and angled and positioned to get the maximum amount of breast tissue exposed. This leaves one side with a foam wedge under your side, others removed etc. Then the breast is squeezed flat with a grid box. About as comfortable as a Mammogram which means , Not very comfortable .
Since I’ve had two MRI guided biopsies now I can also add that I didn’t get hooked up to an infusion pump to be given the contrast. While a regular scan the pump does the work during the last 8 minute scan (2 minutes in the contrast gets pumped in and then the scan continues for the next 6 minutes). With the biopsy, you have an initial scan for placement, then you’re pulled out of the machine for manual administration of the contrast by one of the radiographers. Then back into the machine for scanning before coming back out for the local anaesthetic injection and biopsy.
The machine is a giant magnet and I get vertigo going in and out of the machine but I breathe through it slowly. Sometimes I get nausea too but just breathe through it slowly. Its hard but in my briefing by the doctor before my biopsy he says to me this would be quicker than the 20 minutes scans I had before. “If you can’t stay still for 5 minutes while we scan then we have to start again”. I think about that about 20 times while I am in the machine. I try and focus on the different noises and work out how close before the 2 doctors and 2 radiographers walk in and the biopsy takes place.
Nothing. Nothing . Nothing. I wait and wait and wait. We’ve had the initial scan, we’ve had the pre contrast scan, we’ve had the contrast injection, we had the post contrast scan…. Finally another scan. Wait a minute, that’s the same scan as before. Hmmm, something unexpected. Then nothing. No moving, no people coming in, or reassuring words through the microphone. I wait and wait. Finally, another scan – the same as before. Not liking this, something is wrong.
Still no contact or communication. I am lying so still I can barely feel by limbs. And inside my head I am screaming. “WHATS GOING ON !!!?????”
I wonder if they have let me to go on a coffee break. Or if I have taken too deep a breath and that has made me move and they had to start again, twice.
Wait…another scan…the same as before. Arghhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I just want to get up and climb out of the machine. I literally had to stop myself from doing just that.
FINALLY, the door opens, someone takes the emergency buzzer out of my hand and disconnects the cannula.
I ask to lift my head and then just blurt out “What happened” The doctor says she will wait for me to get up and I just repeat “what happened”. The next 5 minutes she explains that they redid the scans several times and that what they were looking for was just not there. The part that “was lighting up like a cancer does” wasn’t showing this time.
The pathologist says “I think this is a good thing, you can go and have a good Christmas” . I look at the time and realise it has been an hour and a quarter stuck in the machine. Lying flat and still.
Slowly my focus changes from frustration to relief. Slowly I get up and out, get dressed and walk through the doors to the waiting area. I can tell by the look on my husband’s face he was feeling stressed out too.
I went in past those doors at 1.50 and out again at 3.30pm. I thought about the patients waiting for their scans after me, the poor staff who were running behind schedule, and possibly having to stay late tonight as a result. I must put my emotions aside and find some peace.
Blog by Dyna Eldaief
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