The results are in, drum roll please. The bad news is that I still have a brain tumor, surprisingly he hasn`t disappeared as I secretly hoped he would. The good news is that he seems to be behaving himself. My neurosurgeon has scheduled my next appointment for the middle of June, which I also take to be a very good sign. Had he wanted to see me right away it would have been bad news. But I am not an overly patient, patient. So I went to see my GP for a Cole’s notes version of the MRI results. To be honest I was afraid that the MRI would discover that Timmy was part of a larger family of brain tumors, but that does not appear to be the case, at least no one has said hey looks like you are growing a tumor family in your brain. I take that to be a good sign. Timmy the tumor is however still there hanging onto my skull behind my left ear using my meninges as a blanket. He is described as an avidly enhancing extra-axial mass. Imagine for a second what Charlie Brown’s mother sounds like, wha, wha, wha, wha cause that`s how I feel when I read these reports. Which surprisingly my doctor’s keep giving me for my tumor scrap book. I really wish the reports came with pictures. I need a map that says ‘tumor is here’ with a big red dot. Timmy is measuring a little larger than in the CT scan, but I also know that Timmy was a little camera shy in his CT image. If the surgeon thinks that he will behave himself until the middle of June, I am fine with that.
Now that I have had both a CT and a MRI I really prefer the MRI. Or perhaps I preferred the MRI tech because sometimes people make all the difference, either way it is NOT scary. When I was called in for the MRI the tech went through a list of questions, including do I have shrapnel, or bullets lodged in my body, or metal shards in my eyes. I’m sure that those are very important questions but I couldn’t help laughing as she proceeded down the list. Thankfully I don’t have bullets, shrapnel and a brain tumor because that sounds like a very bad combo.
Thump, thump, thump, thump was all I could hear as I stood there getting my instructions from the tech and I couldn’t help but ask whose heartbeat I could hear. I wasn’t hooked up to the machine yet, so it wasn’t me. She was like, heartbeat? I haven’t heard that one before. That’s the pump for MRI machine.
I hoped up on the table preparing to enter the giant womb with a heartbeat and all and I ask the tech about the contrast dye. For the CT scan I needed an IV so that they could insert contrast dye which makes you feel like you pee your pants when they inject it (not pleasant). She informed me that she would pull me out of the machine part way through and inject the dye with a needle, so no IV, that in itself was a win. I hate IV’s, they make me feel like a sick person, plus they make me itchy. As an added bonus her contrast dye doesn’t make you feel like you peed yourself, double win.
After a nice warm blanket and pillows for my knees I am ready to be strapped into the helmet. This is as close as I am ever going to get to wearing a sports helmet or any kind. The helmet is necessary so that I can’t move my head. I am literally strapped to a board. She puts in ear plugs for me and asks what kind of music I might like, seriously 5 star service. I opted for something light so that I wasn’t tempted to sing, or dance while I am supposed to be perfectly still. The helmet has a mirror so that I can see out of the MRI machine, it’s all a very cool technical experience. The inner science geek in me is totally enthralled by all of the technology.
She warns me that the MRI machine will be loud, and the bed will vibrate. I asked if it would be louder or rougher than riding inside a float plane, and no she assures me that it will not. So no big deal. She hands me a panic button which bears a striking resemblance to a nasal aspirator, gross. And into the heart-beating machine I go.
As I lie there I think of the last time that I have been told that I can do nothing except lie still for 45 minutes. No kids, no responsibilities, just lie there listen to music and do nothing. I think that it has been at least 6 years, and perhaps a lot longer than that. So I took a little 45 minute break from life as magnets pulled images from my brain.
When the magnets started working I could feel some pain in my tooth, the one with the crown. Once I realized what was happening I rationally told myself that she would have warned me about crowns (like the bullets and shrapnel) if they were a problem. When she pulled me out to inject the dye I mentioned it, and she said some people feel dental pain because of nerve sensitivity and other’s feel nothing. Maybe I should have mentioned that the dentist left part of the drill bit in my tooth, but that wasn’t on her list of questions. Anyway that was three root canals ago, so I’m sure it was just the post for my crown. After the whole thing was over my crown is still in place and I promised the tech I would be back for another spin on the MRI machine in the future.
If only a craniotomy could be as painless as getting a MRI. Now I patiently wait until the middle of June for the next step in this brain tumor adventure.