Wednesday, 19 September 2012


I was tired last night and went to bed early because I knew that I had to be up early this morning and at the local hospital for my MRI.  I was having an MRI done to determine whether I am suffering from "chemo fog" or whether I have lymphoma growing in my brain.  I was anxious on many levels last night.  I've never had an MRI before and I wasn't sure what it would be like.  I was asked by my oncologist last week if I was claustrophobic before he ordered the MRI for me.  When the hospital called with the appointment time for the MRI, the nurse asked me if I was claustrophobic.  I don't know if I am or not.  These questions increased some of my anxiety as I wondered how tight a fit it was going to be in there during the MRI.

I was also anxious because I was afraid that perhaps lymphoma had returned and was in my brain.  Even though my oncologist mentioned it was a very small chance, my mind was playing with me and my emotions.  As a result, I did not sleep last night.   I tossed and turned all night long as I worried about lymphoma, being claustrophobic and going throug the MRI.  I finally fell asleep around 4 a.m. this morning and the alarm went off at 6 a.m.  I had my appointment for 7:30 a.m.  Again, I was asked by the technician if I was claustrophobic.  Again, I replied that I didn't know for sure as I haven't been in really tight spaces.

During the process, I had to lay absolutely still for 30 minutes.  The technician put a set of headphones on me to help save my hearing.  The MRI is very loud.  I was told to lay down on the table with my head at the very top of the table.  The technician put a pillow under my knees to make it a little more comfortable for me.  She put a cover on over my face and there was a small window in the cover.  I closed my eyes and felt the table move as it put my head inside the machine.  There were loud beeps with each beep lasting about 1 second or so.  In order to keep myself distracted, I counted the beeps.  The first group of beeps consisted of 175 beeps.  Then there was the sound of a jackhammer.  It even shook the table I was laying on!  That seemed to last a while.  Then there were another series of beeps.  I tried to count them again but I must have lost count because they seemed to end at 85 beeps.  The technician then removed my head from the machine and put a dye into my system.  Then I was put into the machine again where I heard more beeps and more jackhammers.  Then it was all finished.  Because I was so tired from lack of sleep, I was actually able to stay somewhat relaxed throughout the whole process.

I was surprised that I had my MRI just one week after seeing my oncologist.  I had been under the impression that it would take 3 to 4 weeks to get an appointment.  I'm not complaining because it certainly meant less time for me to think about the MRI and the possibilities of why it was being done.  Obviously last night's sleeplessness was my body and brain dealing with the anxiety levels that I was experiencing.

I returned home from my appointment and then got on with my day.  I had a full afternoon of teaching and my day went by very quickly.  By the time I was done teaching for the day, I had the beginnings of a major headache just from lack of sleep.  I went home with the intention of  laying down for a few minutes.  When I walked in the door, my son greeted me with a message that the nurse had called from the hospital and everything is fine.  The results were good.  What a relief it was to get this message!!   I then went to my bed for a rest and I even dozed off for a little bit.  It took the edge off of the headache and allowed me to function as I made supper and then visited with my father-in-law and husband.  I'm so glad to know that the lymphoma is not inside me!!

This means that the memory issues and slight cognitive impairment is due to "chemo fog" or "chemo brain".  My doctor told me last week that it would last anywhere from 6 months to a year after the chemotherapy treatments were finished.  It should start to improve  in the next few months.  I can't wait.  It is very frustrating to being in the middle of a conversation and hit a mental brick wall where for a moment there is nothingness.  Sometimes I can get back on track and describe the word I'm looking to use and other times the word is totally gone.  Sometimes I even lose track of the conversation and I can't remember what I was in the middle of saying or thinking.  There are times where I hit the mental brick wall and I have to ask the person I've been speaking with "What were we talking about?"  It is very embarrassing as it may appear that I'm not really interested in what we were talking about.  So the good news is that this will slowly start to get better.  The best news is that it is not lymphoma!  Whoo Hoo!!!  That monkey is off my shoulder for now.

1 comment:

  1. I am sincerely happy for you, Cathy. This is great news. I guess you have no choice now but to concentrate on LIVING and enjoying life :)