Today I had an ultrasound of my legs to check for more blood clots that could potentially lead to another pulmonary embolism, and I had an MRI, which wasn’t as bad as I’d thought
I get the results of the latter tomorrow. My hope is that it shows no more lymphoma and that the PET scan keeps lighting up because, instead of a glowing heart like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, I have a glowing pancreas.
My ultrasound didn’t show up any more blood clots that could travel to my lungs. I’m still concerned that my blood seems to clot so easily, even when my platelets were low. I’ll be off the blood thinner for a little while in the hospital, when my platelets drop post-chemo. I irrationally worry that my blood will just all clot up and stop flowing during this time.
In addition to the good news of no clots, I also got some book recommendations from the person who administered the ultrasound. We got to talking about books, and she wrote them down for me so I can put them on my Kindle for my long hospital stay.
Then I went to have an MRI. I’ve heard that they’re boring and unpleasant, as well as claustrophobia-inducing. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, I thought it was a little bit better than a PET scan, because my arms were in a less awkward position above my head. Also, I always almost fall asleep during PET scans but not quite and end up groggy.
There’s no chance of that with an MRI. That’s because an MRI is loud. That kind of surprised me.
After I filled out the forms about metals in the body and put on a robe, I was led to the MRI room. When I put the key to my locker, where I’d stashed my belongings, on a counter in the room, I thought I saw candy on the counter.
I haven’t worn my usual gas permeable lenses since this summer’s eye infection, and I’ve been wearing disposable lenses. They’re weighted for my astigmatism, but I can’t see as well, so I don’t know what’s going on a lot of the time. It keeps things interesting.
After I was strapped in, one of the technicians approached with the colorful-looking candy wrapper thing. Irrationally, I thought I was going to get some sort of special candy. Maybe for MRIs you get candy instead of that red drink for PET scans? They were earplugs.
I was a little surprised to see race car stickers on the outside of the machine. Sometimes, the machines are adorned with something to make you feel better. My last PET scan at the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center was in a forest-themed room. There’s a mural on the ceiling so when you’re not all the way in the machine, it’s as if you’re in a grove of trees. A few fallen leaf tiles on the floor complete the effect. It’s a nice touch.(For some reason, the last time I was there, it was freezing, so I kept expecting to see that the ceiling trees had lost all their leaves and had icicles hanging from the branches.)
Once I was inside the machine, there were more stickers. I’m not sure if I was in pediatric machine (for short people?) or not, but I liked the array of birds, monkeys and other animals to look at. At my eye level were two pink elephants, a pair of shiny giraffes and a zebra. I decided that, based on his sticker companions, the remaining animal sticker was a crocodile, not an alligator.
Then the noise began and I understood the earplugs. It’s not deafening by any means, but it’s a little like being at a construction site. A friend said his MRI was like listening to Nitzer Ebb, and now I see what he means. With the noises and the animal stickers, it was like being at a modern art installation that I didn’t understand. If done properly, people might line up for hours for this experience—especially when the ’80s video game noises began and my little machine bed began to vibrate, like I was under attack. It was like being in a Galaga ship.
When there was a brand-new noise, I could guess that a part when I had to hold my breath was coming up. Someone would announce that I should hold my breath and then there would be a flurry of noises. When those stopped, the voice would come back to tell me to breathe.
After the first round, they put contrast media into my IV and then I pretty much went through the same routine again. Between the stickers, the noises and holding my breath, there was enough to distract me, so it didn’t feel that long.
I get the results tomorrow morning, and then I have a radiation oncology appointment in the afternoon. Fingers crossed for good news.