So, today was my second MRI in the last six months. I will be honest I was really anxious about this one. Since my diagnosis in November I have started experiencing some new symptoms as well as a few persistent old ones sticking around. My MS Specialist and I decided it would be worth getting some updated scans done so we can make some decisions about starting a medication.
Apparently, back in November I just got a brain and upper spinal MRI (honestly the twenty four hours before/after the diagnosis are a bit of a blur from the emotion of it all) but this time my neurologist wanted to add the full spine as well as the full brain. The nurses warned me that it would be a lot longer than my first MRI and last a little over two hours. I am pretty claustrophobic and really struggle with panic attacks so I went in prepared.
I wore my most comfy sports bra with no metal in it (thank you Victorias Secret!), yoga pants, and a tank top. I meditated as soon as I woke up in the morning (at 5am because my nerves were already in full swing and anxiety LOVES company) and my MRI wasn’t until noon. It helped a bit and I ended up being able to fall back asleep for a little bit. I ended up having horrible nightmares. That is something I want to go into in another post. I have always had extremely vivid dreams and recently have been suffering from some pretty intense nightmares 😦
So after I woke up I did a little light cleaning and got my “happy place” set up for me to come back to after the MRI. This includes:
My lavender scented, weighted blanket (seriously, this thing is like a magic blanket)
A full bottle of water
Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery all cued up on my ipad
My Himalayan Salt Rock Lamp for a warm healing glow in the room
My favorite pillow, recliner, and some more blankets. I’m kind of a blanket freak…
I was set for the post MRI de-stress so I did another 35 minute meditation to center myself and check in with all the areas of my body I was feeling stress. I use an app called Insight Timer that has thousands of guided meditations for all sorts of situations so I was able to find something that helps to calm yourself while still staying alert and not falling asleep! I really think that helped me for my pre-MRI jitters.
Funny side note: On the drive to the hospital my husband and I passed a middle school and saw bunch of kids doing the “1 mile run” around a field. Remember those things?!? I was HORRIBLE at them…like seriously dreaded them. I turned to my husband and said “That looks so terrible. Honestly I would rather be doing what I am about to do that run a mile right now” You fellow fatigue-ers (that’s not a word, now it is) know what I am talking about!
The MRI started out really well! I took my sedatives prescribed by my doctor, had on a Taylor Swift Pandora station and did a bit of meditation as soon as I got in the machine to calm my nerves and stomach. I felt really relaxed and one of my MS power songs “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten came on so I was really feeling like a badass woman at that point.
But about an hour and fifteen minutes I think the sedatives started to wear off and anxiety started to rear her ugly head again. My head was killing me and I started having a panic attack about the time they gave me the contrast. I knew I was about 3/4 of the way done and REALLY just wanted to get it over with. So I laid there and I cried and tried my hardest not to move. I just didn’t want to hit my panic button and have to start the scan over. I tried to just focus on my breathing and kept reminding myself that this would be over soon…and it was.
When the nurse pulled me out and saw I was crying he was shocked and said that for someone who really didn’t want to be inside that machine I did really well and didn’t move at all. So at least that is something to be proud of. I powered through and even though I was scared I proved to myself that I CAN do it. It might take some tears and a weak moment or two but I WILL get through this.
I wish anyone who is dealing with medical procedures today peace, good vibes and relaxation.
We are all in this together and we have a support system in each other.