Boobs in the Tubes: My Upcoming MRI

That’s what I call my annual breast MRI: Boobs in the Tubes. I will be going for my fifth breast MRI next Monday. For anyone who isn’t familiar, patients having breast MRIs have to lie face down on the table with their breasts in these cylinder-type containers. It’s completely painless, but some people experience claustrophobia, as is common with many MRIs. Luckily, I don’t get claustrophobic at all – I am more worried about the IV in my arm. I have to have contrast dye with my MRIs, so my arms are extended out over my head Superman style for the 30 minutes it usually takes for the MRI.

I still get so much anxiety before these preventative MRIs. I take Ativan to help calm me, and always ask a family member to drive me. I try to schedule them first thing in the morning to minimize my nerves. It amazes me that it’s so easy to keep thoughts of a recurrence out of my head most of the time, but the week or so before my annual MRI and mammograms, I am so tense. I don’t sleep well at all and find that I am extremely irritable.

I start thinking about how lucky I have been to have had non-metastatic breast cancer. I count my blessings that I needed only a lumpectomy and not mastectomy. I worry about what will happen to my career, marriage, etc. if my MRI doesn’t come back clean and I need to go through treatment again. I pretty much obsess until the MRI is over. Then I wait a week or so and have an appt with my medical oncologist for the results. I have been fortunate enough to have had four clean MRIs in a row – I will let you know about #5 in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, for anyone who would like to see what these MRIs are like, click here for an informative YouTube video. I never noticed how much these machines resemble massage tables. I will try to think of it that way next week!

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