Tuesday, August 26, 2008

MRI Results

The exam was complete and I nervously asked the technologist if all looked good and clear. As is the usual procedure, she advised that the Radiologist had been down to have a quick look and had been out to speak to my husband.

The pulse quickened and my mouth went dry until I saw her smile. She obviously sensed my concern and fear and smiled the smile of relief and success, not the smile of sympathy or concern. This girl had been on the same path with me 2 years earlier and knew what they had found then so she must have felt a small amount of exhilaration that the images were clear. I cannot imagine what turns up in their day to day examinations. Nobody likes to be the bearer of bad tidings. They operate the equipment that is advanced enough to help diagnose a problem. Discovery is one thing, fixing it is another!

I left the MRI suite to be greeted by my smiling husband Roy. All clear he said - NO BRAIN TUMOUR - congratulations! Once again I burst into tears, but of relief this time! All that was left was to pick up the report the following day. I had studied the pictures in disbelief the first time so was really looking forward to looking at the new set.

MRI with Meningioma
MRI with NO Meningioma

Saturday, August 16, 2008

MRI Examination

Off I toddled for my 5pm appointment. Once again, my husband was at my side, feeling just as anxious as me, I have no doubt.

The procedure seemed very straight forward this time. A canula was inserted into a vein in my hand ready for the contrast dye. A very sweet male nurse showed concern at having to do this to me and was very sympathetic to the fact that I may feel a little discomfort. The old hand that I am, I chuckled and assured him that a small jab in the hand was nothing but I appreciated his bedside manner.

Everyone was pleased to see me looking so well and couldn't believe it had been 2 years since removal of my benign meningioma tumour.

Funnily enough, I arrived feeling far more nervous this time than I did last time when I had no inkling of what the results would be.

All jewellery was left at home, I put on the fabulous hospital gown, was strapped in to the head cage and ready to go.

The familiar clicks and knocks started and half way through the procedure the contrast dye was administered. It took about 40 minutes this time and I started to think about the results as I was laying there as still as possible.

If it's all clear I would be ecstatic and would stop thinking about it all again for a while but I began to feel like I was teetering on a precipice because if it wasn't, it would all start again.....would it be in the same location, what kind of tumour, what treatment would be possible and oh, so many questions not to mention the fears.

You also start asking yourself the "why me" question and the sad thing is research has still not come up with anything conclusive.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Why Another MRI?

I think it was the Russell Watson story that unnerved me a little. 'Regrowth of a previous benign brain tumour!' Now once again, the whole story will not have been reported and they may not have removed the whole of the initial tumour like they did mine - but let me tell you, it doesn't take a lot to knock your confidence when you are dealing with something as scary as a brain tumour experience and I never feel totally confident about anything until the proof is in my hands.

So I sat down and rang the hospital and told them I wanted to come in again for another MRI. Nobody deterred me. I thought I would probably have to wait a week for an appointment but they said they could see me at 5pm that day. Well I have to share with you that I said, 'thank you. I'll see you at 5 then', put the phone down and promptly burst into tears. Madness I know, but that meant that I had to front up to the issue fully again with the possibility that I may not feel so chirpy again tomorrow once I had the results.

Believe me, I'm not a pessimist! My anxiety levels just rocketed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

I thought I'd show you a picture of what an 'open' MRI machine looks like. Some of the closed machines are a little more scary than this and some people feel a little claustrophobic during the process. What they will do is place your head in what looks like a cage and put a strap on your forehead so that you keep perfectly still.

The scan will take between 30-40 minutes. MRI uses magnetism instead of x-rays to build a detailed picture of your head. It is in no way painful and the only discomfort is in the fact that you will be asked to lie very still for this period of time. They will play you some music and I'm sure if you take your own favourites in they will play them for you so it's best just to relax. Once the process starts you will hear a series of what to me sounded like clicks and knocks.

You will be alone in the MRI room but the technician will be able to see and hear you and therefore if you need to attract their attention you only have to speak and a two-way intercom will pick you up.

I was given an injection of dye into a vein in my hand by way of intravenous needle, to produce a better evaluation of the images. This is like any other injection really and causes very little discomfort. The contrast is called gadolinium and does not contain iodine and is therefore less likely to cause allergic reactions.

Leave all your jewellery at home because these will have to be removed as they can interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI unit. You will usually be down to underwear and gown so will not have items such as zippers but be aware of items such as hair pins, hearing aids and removable dental work.

It is important that you remain perfectly still while the images are being recorded, which is typically only a few seconds to a few minutes at a time. You will know when images are being recorded because you will hear tapping or knocking sounds when the coils that create the magnetic field are turned on. You will be able to relax between imaging sequences.

The benefits of this technique is that it is noninvasive and does not involve any exposure to radiation. Where brain tumours are concerned the MR images are the most sensitive examination method as they are usually clearer and more detailed.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I thought it was about time I did a little follow up to the Eviction day to stress that it is 2 years on. Whilst writing my Ebook I have learnt a great deal about this mystical tumour and I have also read many peoples stories. We read a report or something crops up in the news and it rarely gives the whole story. You may read a caption like 'The Use of Mobile Phones has been linked to Brain Tumours'. Well as you can see from a previous entry of mine on this very subject, this headline is true but slightly misleading.

You may be like me, and as far as I thought about it prior to my own diagnosis, I really didn't know there were many types of brain tumour and in fact had never heard of a Meningioma. I certainly didn't want to think about the possibility of having one and didn't know that there were different grades and that some were benign and some were cancerous. I just truly thought that they were all something that nobody wanted because they spelt out a definite dangerous situation.

So having painstakingly read through as much information as I could I came to the conclusion that it would be a sensible thing to have a follow up MRI test this year even though my Neurosurgeon felt it was totally unnecessary.