• shelley@heradvice.ca
  • Vancouver, Canada

“Shelley, you can do hard things.”

Ever have an MRI? Ever had one without that sensation of pure panic running through your body and pounding on your chest like a small child who has just been left behind. Sheer panic! The kind that makes it hard to breathe. If you cannot relate then you should keep reading so you get a glimpse into what that feels like. If you know what I’m talking about, just wish me well and carry on with your day. 😘

Well, it’s an absolutely awful feeling!

I was in need of 3 MRI’s; one for each of my hips – the right which is bad from my many years of almost landing jumps at the rink, the other from a tear/dislocation that they suspect happened during my bladder repair surgery in January and the third is to look at a couple of spots in my abdomen that are likely residue from when I had the clotting complications during my hysterectomy, but in order to rule out a reoccurrence, an MRI with contrast has to be done.
I had to wait until my 6 weeks recovery from my last breast surgery in order to go into an MRI as there were those magnets on the expanders, so that would have been, well let’s say “not a good idea.” So, it’s been since December that I knew that the abdomen and chest CT images needed to be done and days after my Jan 9th bladder surgery, I knew I’d need the hips done. 
Frickity, frickity, frack!!! And other words. Yep, lots of other words. 
So, last night after the Canucks game Paul and I headed to St Paul’s hospital, me clenching my Ativan and Paul holding tightly to my hand. Because I was having both hips done, it’s like a double MRI – one hour laying still in a machine that you feel like you barely fit into and that makes the loudest, weirdest noises, despite the layers of ear protection. I took my meds as instructed and with the beer I had at the game prior, I thought this would be good. Plus, I was so tired 😴. But, nope. All the same awful feelings and sensations and suddenly you just can’t breathe. I’m stubborn and want to be nothing but capable and brave in these situations. I try so hard to will it away, imagining everything I can that makes me calm. I thought about my friend’s Sharon Miller Evans and Mark’s caboose sleep bunks and pretended I was all cuddled into there. I imagined sleeping in a pod on a big, beautiful jet. Then thoughts of being stuck in the trunk of a car slip in or, god forbid, a coffin. Then Kenny Chesney comes on and I’m now at Tortuga remembering the sights, smells, sounds and those sippy cups. The faint music that I can really only hear when the machine isn’t grinding and screeching helps when I can hear it, problem is, that’s not very often. The songs faintly pass by. Some I can hear enough to know what they are, others I can’t tell who is singing or what song, but from my calculations, it is going to take about 15 or 16 songs to get through this. As I lay there, my mind wanders and my coach voice keeps kicking in, “You are doing so well. I am so proud of you. You can do hard things!” The panic comes and goes in waves and I seem to be riding them with some ease now, not falling off. (The Ativan is working, the music is helping distract me a bit and the nice calm ladies voices are also encouraging me.). Finally, without exploding or dying of lack of oxygen or heart failure, all things I thought may happen between songs, I LIVED!! I made it. Yay. Yay me!
I made it to go home with Paul, chatting like crazy about how well I did all the way home. I climbed in bed and slept well for the first night in a while as I was so worried about these tests. (Also sure the Meds helped with that.). And now, well right now, I am sitting in the MRI unit at Cancercare waiting to go in for the next one. This one isn’t feet first, it’s head first with this astronaut type helmet on and a dye injection to start. Egads. The first Ativan is down the hatch and the coaching has begun. 
“Shelley, you can do hard things.” I repeat to myself.


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