Familiar visits

So today I found myself in a familiar place, doing familiar things with familiar people. You would think that all that familiar-ness would bring some sort of comfort, a sense of security even. But some days there are exceptions. And today highlighted one of those exceptions.

But hang on, I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. Today’s trip actually had its beginnings last week with the first of my six monthly visits with the Dent Doctor.

I have always thought that “a visit” is such an odd term to describe any sojourn to a doctor’s office. After all, “a visit” to me conjures up visions of tea and scones, chats about holidays, curve T.V’s (it’s a long story!) and having good laughs with familiar people in familiar settings. Bizarrely enough, that WAS a pretty good description of last week’s visit with the Dent doctor! Ok, so maybe it was a shared cup of hot chocolate with Pete in the waiting room, and maybe there were no actual scones and just maybe it included me having to removing my shirt at one point… But the rest was particularly spot on – including the discussion about the curve TV (long story!) 🙂

So how was I doing six months after my last visit to the Cancer centre?

Very well apparently!

My bloods looked good and nothing sinister appeared to be lurking anywhere obvious. And despite appearing to be particularly brave about this visit, the audible expelling of a breath I hadn’t even realised I had been holding, totally gave me away!

So with everything looking good on the surface the Dent Doctor wanted to make sure things were looking just as good on the inside too.

Which brings this particular story back to today… Sitting in a familiar place, seeing familiar faces and tasting the familiar flavour of the pre-CT-scan orange “jungle juice”.

What was also pretty familiar was the all too familiar dread of having to wait for results.

Familiar

I wanted to get that sense of peace and even boredom that comes with long familiarity. Debbie Reynolds
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”
― H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature

 

“I don’t desire a change of scenery or exotic experiences. My heart yearns for familiarity, stability, the comfort of home — and my sanity depends on it.”
― Dean Koontz

 

“The world doesn’t change in front of your eyes, it changes behind your back.”
― Terry Hayes, I Am Pilgrim

Just remember to breathe…

Breathe

So today was the day….

The morning started with a 7:30 visit to the laboratory for a blood test before my scan.  I must say on the drive there I actually felt a little more nervous – it had been a while since I had blood taken and I couldn’t actually spot any decent visible veins on my left arm.  I was mentally preparing myself for the foot thing ****scream face**** 

Luckily the lab sister along with the assistance of 1 x very tight compression band found one lurking in my hand 🙂

Despite the success at the Lab, I arrived for the MRI feeling rather ill.  The stress of the last week coupled with the memories of mammograms, biopsies and scans 15 days short of one year ago, were a little too fresh for comfort… 

 Fortunately I didn’t have too much time to wallow.  Before I knew it I was sitting in a chair wearing a rather flattering ***NOT! ***navy blue gown while a nurse tried to locate yet another vein!  They needed to attach a line through which the contrast could be administered during the scan.  It was clearly my day – she found one in the crook of my arm with the assistance of another 1 x very, VERY tight compression band. 

All suited up I was ushered towards the scanning machine and then VERY quickly told that apparently I did not need to remove my gown completely………….. as I stood there in my panties ***slaps head***I tell you there really is an exhibitionist in me!

Now anyone who has ever had an MRI of the chest (boobs) will tell you that it’s not a particular comfortable position to be in, figuratively and literally!  You have to lie on your tummy with your chest (boobs) in this device which I can only describe as cup holders .  No jokes – they look exactly like grown up versions of the cup holders I have in my car.  I was then asked what my cup (no pun intended) 🙂 size was so they can adapt the holders: either by adding “padding” to make them smaller or to take “padding” out to make the holes bigger – and when I say padding I don’t mean lovely soft cushioning fabric – I mean a hard plastic insert which they try and soften with paper towels.  Even the consultant said to me – “these have definitely been designed by a man”. 

cup holder

So there I was with my boobs inserted like Macdonald shakes into the cup holders while lying comfortably…..NOT!!!…… (the headrests are definitely not made for anyone with a nose) with earplugs in my ears and a panic button in my hand (just in case) although I don’t quite know how you would actually know to panic when you couldn’t hear or see a thing!   

The radiographer communicated with me via a speaker inserted in my head (ok so maybe not quite in my head) but that’s the impression I got and the conversations went something like this:  The radiographer: “Mrs Elliott are you ok” Me: “des umm byn” – apparently she did understand whale…or alternatively she actually could understand what someone said while they lay on their stomach with two blocked nasal passages!

Then the scanning began which can only be compared to walking into a rave club…….completely sober.  There is this really loud “doof doof” base-like noise with an occasional screech thrown in for good measure followed by a loud vibration which makes you feel as though you are suspended in a wind tunnel…………..without the wind.  

At some point in the procedure the radiographer let me know that the contrast would be inserted into my vein, fortunately she did or I might have missed the burning pain in my arm…. EISH!

It may or may not surprise you to find that I have a mantra for MRI’s too!  Which was a really good thing today as this one took an hour to complete – time takes on a whole different dimension when you are suspended in the tunnel.

Apparently the implants also make it a little more difficult to get a clear picture……

We rushed off to the Dent Doctor just as soon as I was able to get myself out of my gown.  He was already looking at the images on his laptop when we arrived in his office – isn’t technology amazing!  But he was still waiting for the contrast images (apparently how the dye washes in and out of the cells indicates whether there is a malignancy present or not) and the radiographer’s report.  BUT he showed us the images anyway while he explained why he didn’t think there was anything to worry about……. ummmm yes I see the blurry grey line next to the blurry grey round thing……. apparently the absence of white bits was a positive thing although we were not to worry about THAT white bit on the side as that was just a blood vessel……..ummm….sure…… OK!   

We left the Cancer Centre feeling a little more at ease but the real relief hit an hour and a bit later when he called to say he had the final images and report and it was all DEFINITELY clear!

It felt like as though I was finally able to take my first full breath in over a week….. 🙂

“We experience moments absolutely free from worry.  These brief respites are called panic”. Cullen Hightower

Keep Calm