Two weeks out from the MRI, one week from the CT scan. When I asked about the results I was told I had an appointment scheduled for November. Don’t worry, if they find anything they’ll call you. Thanks. That’s the problem.
The dreaded words Private Caller (PC) on call display terrorized me for months after I was first diagnosed. PC called with the first cancer news. PC called with the tumour in my face. Over the last 18 months in the comfort of the no-scan zone, I could safely assume it was the air duct cleaning people (How many times do I have to tell you I have no air ducts, but if I did, would they be anywhere near my glands?) How long until the private callers are just people who don’t want their numbers identified?
An MRI is a powerful magnet. I once saw a video of an office chair flying across the room when the machine was turned on. Questions are asked about metal in my body – stents, picc lines, pacemakers, or maybe some random scrap caught in the cuff of my pants.
The last time I had an MRI I could swear the soundtrack (more like a beat) was I Just came to say Hello. The 2011 song was already old by the time I had my 2013 test, or was it the 2014 one? Someone must have suggested an update because this time the loud banging was unpleasantly unrecognizable. I could neither sing along, nor block it out. I’m out of the loop when it comes to current music.
Thankfully I’m not claustrophobic (although if I can’t see or feel the end of a tight space, I’m not climbing in. No spelunking for me). When they lower the plastic mask and slide me into the tube, I don’t hyperventilate. I close my eyes to ignore the dimensions of my temporary hangout, but the urge to open them wins out. There’s a little window through which the ceiling is visible and Oh, I see a bottle of Windex (weird) and two unidentifiable mounds covered in what looks like a white sheet. Playing Nancy Drew seems a perfectly good thing to do with my intubated time.
I’m not supposed to move, but I shift my knees the tiniest bit and realize those mounds are me. This isn’t a window. It’s a mirror. What I’m seeing is my body and beyond it the glass behind which the technician is running the machine and announcing how many minutes the next set of noises will take. The Windex is not flush against the ceiling but on the windowsill (really, they just leave Windex hanging around in an MRI suite?)
A week later I’m back for more contrast dye, this time it’s the CT scan. It feels like you’re peeing, but don’t worry, you’re not. The test is short but takes 1½ hours to prep - one glass of liquid every 15 minutes. Cheers. Again I’m grateful, this time not to be the woman whose reaction to the process has left her puking repeatedly in the bathroom stall next to mine. I merely find it distasteful.
When I ask the technician why it’s not full body – I’m sure they did my whole body last time. She thinks maybe the MRI will take care of my head. Maybe? I dread having anything found, but having nothing found is only great if they’ve looked everywhere. Oh dear, we forgot to move the bed, is that where you think the dead mouse might be?
Almost three years in to the cancer trip and I’m back at a starting line waiting for my private caller to call the shots, waiting for the news:
No news is good news. News is always bad news.
But with my kind of lymphoma No news is no news until it’s not no news.