For me everyday is a test. Whether it be about the decisions I make in my life or the actual physical tests I have to go through on occasion living with Sjögren’s syndrome, they are all important and affect my health.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of my abdomen is the latest test I completed on Friday. This machine is used to help diagnose or monitor treatment of many different medical conditions in your chest, abdomen (stomach) and pelvis. It’s noninvasive and uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the inside of our body without cutting it open.
I was not able to eat or drink four hours prior to the procedure. You will be asked to remove all jewelry, complete a two page questionnaire to see if you have any type of metal in your body, sign a consent then have an IV inserted. The IV will be used to inject a contrast dye for the last set of pictures. Your doctor, nurse, radiologist or tech will ask if you have any allergies to iodine, xray contrast material, drugs, food or if you have asthma. You may require pre-medication before your procedure.
WARNING! If you are claustrophobic (a fear of enclosed spaces) or have anxiety….. please be sure to let your doctor know so they can help to accommodate you on the day of your procedure. Something I forgot to do! Yikes……
The traditional MRI machine is a large cylinder-shaped tube that is surrounded by a circular magnet. I had to lie down on the narrow table and place my hands at the side of my body. I was sort of strapped in…….they placed a pad over my abdomen and arms. He placed ear plugs in both ears (because the machine is very loud) and headphones on to listen to music. He handed me a squeeze ball that I could use to notify him should I have an emergency while in the tube.
The tech was sitting at the computer in another room and was giving me instructions through my headphones. He explained that he would be asking me to hold my breath for a series of pictures, anywhere from twelve to nineteen seconds at a time.
If you have read my other blogs then you know I am claustrophobic and have anxiety at times! I have been so busy that I didn’t even think to ask about an open MRI machine. So, as the tech is giving me instructions and starts to move me into the tube, I start to feel really nervous! Once inside the machine, I was totally enclosed and if I moved my fingers I could touch the sides.
My initial thought was I needed to squeeze the emergency ball that I was given. I started to sweat, feel light-headed and panic. I tried to close my eyes so I wouldn’t see the tube around me. I had to take some deep breaths and think about how I could be successful and complete this procedure. So many thoughts going on in my head and I tried to focus on the Hawaiian music playing. As the tech started talking to me I tried to get a grip and get through this!
The tech asked me to hold my breath for nineteen seconds as a test. Take a deep breath….blow it out then hold your breath. Here we go…..starting with a series of four pictures. He gave very detailed instructions about what I would be doing and checked to make sure I was doing okay. I even had to just breathe for one picture and actually fell asleep. Haha! I heard the tech saying “wake up”. I was in the tube for about forty five minutes and survived my MRI! Hooray…..
As I wait for the results of both my liver biopsy and MRI, I move on with my life and am able to START EACH DAY WITH A GRATEFUL HEART….
Please remember everyone’s body is different and unique. Always discuss any areas of concern about your autoimmune diseases with your doctor.
Hugs to all…..You can do it!
Don’t be afraid of failure. If you never try, you will never succeed.