Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Tunnel - A Schwannoma Diary (#13).

No matter how many times I enter into the painfully narrow tunnel of the MR imaging machine, I never feel as though I'm getting used to it. I approach each machine with a similar veneer of defiance that says, "Righto fucker...You. Me. Let's ride" as if I'm goading this big dumb square donut of technology to do something fatal - like throw one of its magnets through its casing at God knows how many thousands of revolutions per minute and cut me in half. It never happens though. MR technology is so well advanced now. Safety protocols are so stringent with these machines. You'd have better luck getting hit by a car than being killed by an MR imager.

Still, when you're in that tunnel, your head secured inside the cage they close over you to keep you from moving around, with those magnets spinning around you, clanging and banging and rumbling. The psychology warfare you have to play with yourself can be considerable - especially if you're not enamoured by confined spaces and bone crunching noise.

I had the preparatory scans of my spine today. These will help the surgeon get a "lay of the land" so to speak so she can best decide how to approach the evntual surgery to implant my spine cord stimulator. Having discussed the technology with the product specialist, its likely that the leads and paddles will be inserted into the spine at the thoracic level - between T8 and T10. The product specialist - who has a clinical background - believes that will be the best place to achieve the best potential for the neurostimulation therapy.

I also had a couple of X-rays of my hips - just to rule out any defect in either of those joints that might be the source of the hip pain I described in my previous post. It's highly unlikely, but you just never know. I can't actually remember if I'd ever had any films taken of my hips previously. I've had so many.

The MR scans were pretty straight forward to be honest. I was in the tunnel for roughly half an hour, during which the radiographer was kind enough to give me a pair of headphones with talk back radio piped through them. The talk back wasn't entirely useful however as it was drowned out by the magnets around me. But I always consider it a nice thought. 

There was a short break in proceedings as they pulled me out from within in order to inject the radioactive dye - gadolinium - into my system. That's so they can take a series of enhanced images that can pick up any anomalies (god forbid another tumour) that may or may not present. Gadolinium is one of those hilarious radio-isotopes that makes you feel as though you've lost control of your bodily functions, even though you clearly haven't.

It was all over in half an hour and I was back on my feet and out., The Radiology Service has a green ethos these days meaning the images will be sent electronically to my surgeon - she probably already has them. I meet with her in a week, by which time we'll pencil in a date for the surgery.

There was a time when I would have been petrified of the tunnel. Now...it's just mildly angst inducing. 

Me 15...

Machine 0...  


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