Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Tale of Two Boxes

This actual MRI machine was used today for my Breast MRI.
Today was a tale of two boxes.  You would think that the two boxes refer to the Breast MRI that was scheduled for today, but actually, that's only one of the boxes.  (Ok, go on and thought I was talking about my breasts, didn't you? :)

I arrived at the MRI Center a little before 7:30 a.m.  Went through registration and was handed paperwork to fill out and present to the technician when my name was called.  You know the paperwork...attached to a clipboard with a cheap pen.  Routine questions that normally I don't give a second thought to.  I just go down the lengthy column marking no, no, no, no, no no.  Heart disease, high blood pressure, seizures, diabetes..and then I stopped.  There it was with a box beside it.  CANCER.  For the first time ever, I had to mark yes in the "Cancer Box" on a form.  Still, hours after, I can not find the words to describe how surreal that moment was.  I, Shelby Marie Hobbs Henderson put an "X" in the Yes column by cancer.  I've been told by the surgeon that I have cancer.  I told my children I have cancer.  I told my family and friends that I have cancer.  I've shared my soul on this blog about cancer, but putting an "X" in the cancer box was reality, beyond measure for me!

I was then taken back to the MRI waiting areas by a very nice MRI technician, Victor.  He had a great personality, and when I asked if I could take a photo of the MRI machine for my blog, his reply was, "Wait a minute and let me tidy up!".  It was quite humorous standing there with my phone while he got the wrinkles out of the sheet on the MRI machine!  The photo on this post is the actual machine that was used for my Breast MRI.  You can read about the Breast MRI process here.  I was face-down for the process. The MRI machine utilizes a type of breast plate with "boxes" for your breasts.  Wendy (the other great technician I met today), positioned my breasts in the boxes.  I thought of them almost as little coffins for my boobs!  Your arms are above your head, with an IV in, as contrast is administered.  During the process, you are told not to move. The table is then moved into the MRI machine feet first.  Trying not to breath too deeply, earplugs in, IV in your arm, breasts in the boxes, and then the loud clicking noises start!  Images were taken before the contrast began, during, and then after the contrast had fully reached the area in question.  The purpose of the MRI was to see if there were any additional occult cancer, or cancers that are not visible on a mammogram or ultrasound.

The process was not pleasant.  If you've ever had a scan with contrast, you know that it feels very weird.  The contract used in Breast MRIs is not iodine based, and therefore is supposed to be more tolerable than that used in CT scans.  I could feel the contrast as it traveled through my body.  I imagined it kind of like a sparkly florescent glow.  First my head, then my shoulders, chest, abdomen, etc...  It was not pleasant, but I kept telling myself that this was miniscule compared the challenges that I will be facing in the next month and beyond.  When Victor let me know that there was only about seven minutes left, I thought I was going to lose it.  Not go crazy, but literally lose whatever contents were in my stomach (only a few sips of Coke Zero).  My breasts were probably lit up like a "Lite-Brite" on their monitor, and I felt like I was going to vomit all over a million dollar machine!

Thanks to God that I didn't vomit, and the procedure was finally over.  Wendy and I had a nice conversation about my proposed treatment, and she said she would add me to her prayers.  As soon as the procedure was over and images saved, they were immediately available for Dr. Martin to pull up, but he most likely won't receive the official radiologist report until Friday.

I was able to return to work, but have felt rather weak and nauseated all day.  Hopefully that will subside with a good night's sleep. Even with the way I've felt, my day was filled with unexpected "sprinkles"...literally and figuratively.  The outpouring of love, concern and prayers that I am receiving is unbelievable.  Unexpected cards and tokens of love are lifting my spirits higher.  Upon my arrival at work after my MRI, I had a large bag of sprinkles waiting for me in my school mailbox, with a note!  I love my sprinkles : )

Dr. Martin called around 4:30 p.m. with more news.  Thank God my left breast is cancer free and there are no other cancer cells visible on the MRI!!!   He also said that at my appointment Tuesday, we will schedule my surgery. Thank you God and my Prayer Army!



vickie said...

I thank God that the cancer has not spread anywhere else. Praise His Name! I am sorry you had to go through that horrible MRI. I pray you will feel much better tomorrow. Praying for you, Hugs

Lanie said...

I am thankful for the good news and answered prayers. I know this is hard to deal with but you are a strong CHRISTIAN woman and you will get through this. I know because I have been where you are and I have been cancer free for 16 years and you will be too. Praying for you and your family every day.

tracy said...

i am so glad to know that the cancer wasn't in both tata's, and that it had not spread. that is great news. (just think of the extra stuff u could have blogged about if you HAD gotten sick all over that MRI machine!)~love and sprinkles~