Tuesday, 30 August 2016

When the MRI scanner stresses me out

I’m diagnosed over seven years now, and in that time I’ve never had an MRI.
In recent discussions with my neurologist and MS nurse it was decided I should have one.
Firstly, I am still on Copaxone, which means injecting myself three times a week. It appears to be working because I am generally well, but the MRI will actually show if it is.
It will show all the lesions that exist inside my body, causing damage quietly, and thinking they can get away with it!
But this MRI will be compared again the last one in 2009 and the comparison will show exactly how my own immune system has been malfunctioning – and if the drugs I’m currently on are really working.
If they aren’t then I have the option of switching onto one of the many oral medications that now exist, as well as Lemtrada.
So it’s a catch 22 sort of scenario because I hate injecting and if the MRI shows Copaxone is doing me little good then I’ll get to stop them. But if I have to switch that means the lesions are doing more harm.
Anyway, it is what it is, and the results shouldn’t be too long hopefully.
But I have to say the MRI itself was fairly stressful. I was a touch laissez-faire about the whole thing; thought it would be a breeze, because I can’t remember it bothering me the last time.
And this time I was allowed to bring my own music to play while the crazy knocking sound did its thing.
But in reality here’s what happened.
I get taken into a small room, undress and put on the unflattering backless gown. Lock all my valuables in a small cupboard on the wall, and leave with only the key and my CD.
They ask me to lie down, tell me nothing about the procedure, stick on the headphones and strap me in.
I’m whoosed back into the chamber, with the emergency buzzer clamped in my hand and I find that there’s no noise in my headphones.
I feel it would be stupid of me to buzz and mention the lack of Josh Groban singing to me so I grin and bear it.
I close my eyes and try to doze off amidst the noise. My eyes never open.
Halfway through I start to panic as my throat feels dry and I am terrified of licking my lips, knowing that staying still is the name of the game.
My heart races and I talk myself down from the irrational feeling of helplessness.
I start to imagine the images the machine is making and the fact that they might not be good.
At times a whoosh of air comes at me, and at others the machine shakes so much I shake with it.
The noise knocks directly in my eardrum; my head starts to pound.  
And it takes forever. Way longer than the 20-30 minutes the letter suggested.
Finally I am taken out, and I mention to the nurse that I couldn’t hear a thing in my headphones.
She shrugs and says ‘Well, we enjoyed it back there.’
I gather my things, get dressed, and they give me back my un-listened-to CD and I go home.
It feels quite surreal.
So I take my eldest daughter to the cinema and feel no guilt whatsoever in eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and a bag of chocolates, even though I should be dieting (always!)

Now the wait for the results begins.


  1. Oh dear those MRIs are loud, make weird noises but hopefully you will get a good report back from it

  2. Wow, no MRI before! I get them twice a year and I am so used to them now that I can even doze off and take a little nap in the tube. The noise doesn't even bother me any more. I just tune it out and think about something nice, soothing and calming. I also wear my own yoga clothes so that I am really comfortable, they just always ask no zippers, no metal right? Right! I know the drill. I do hope you find your comfort soon, good luck on those results!