Tuesday, September 13

I mentioned I had my blood work and MRI/MRA done, right?

Well, I did.

Last Tuesday, I gave eleven vials of blood to a man named Vlad. [Nope, definitely not making that up.] He kept asking me if I was okay, because I noticed his name tag when I was trying to keep track of how much he was taking.

But let me start from the beginning.

M and I arrived Penn at around 9 am. The poor woman who took my paperwork said something about killing lots of trees – I think there were between five and seven sheets of paper for the tests. When I was finally called back for the actual draw, I had a vision of a printer somewhere looking like this when he started unfolding the labels:

And thus began the eleven vials of blood. M told me I should have said something witty about him being Vlad the Impaler, but I was seriously trying not to laugh in the poor man’s face.

After, we had breakfast so I could take my Valium. I also had the freaking fabulous experience of starting my period while waiting in radiology for the MRI. Sorry, I know it’s TMI, but seriously? I need a break from this stuff.

Once we were taken somewhere in the depths of HUP and I got changed and my IV line was inserted, I asked whether the tests were going to be done consecutively or separately. I wanted to take my second pill if they were going to be done at once. They were, so I took my second pill.


I finally got into the machine, and I was fine. I really was. I think I even fell asleep. The problem came when they pulled me out of the machine to administer something over a five minute period, and to attach something to my finger, a monitor to my chest, and a blood pressure cuff to my left elbow. Not even remotely kidding, it was around my elbow for a while. They could see it inflating and kept wondering out loud why it wasn’t reading. Because the MRI machine I was in is roughly twice the strength of normal MRIs [I felt my wedding band vibrating on my finger at one point. It’s platinum.], the pulse oximeter on my right forefinger was super heavily guarded against the magnet. I think I had twenty pounds of protective “stuff” weighing my right finger down until I finally said, “Hey, that’s heavy. Can we fix it?”

And then back into the machine I went.

Now, I don’t know exactly what happened to cause the Valium to magically stop working. All I know is it did, until we were back out on the street. It was probably a rush of adrenaline. I cried the entire second half of the test. Full on choking sobs, which is pretty awesome considering the space I was in was so small I couldn’t reach my hand up to wipe the tears from my eyes. Then the tech pulled me out again to attach the contrast to my IV. I have no idea why he didn’t just do it when I was out the first time, because all it had to do was sit there until he was ready to start it. Thankfully after the second time out, third time in, the test was only around seven minutes. I know; I counted.

The only way I got through the second half of the test was to keep telling myself I had to do this for the boys. And to admit to myself there was no way I could do this again without heavy sedation. I know now one of my twitter friends [Hi, Clint!] is so claustrophobic he usually goes under general anesthesia for MRIs. I don’t want to say I’m to that point, but if I have to go back in a machine that tight again, I may beg.

I remember sitting down once I was in the changing room to put my clothes back on and just crying into my hands for a few minutes. After I changed and came out of the room, M asked me if I was okay. I wasn’t, and I told him so. I just wanted to go home. We stopped outside at one of the food trucks and I got a fruit salad I didn’t end up eating until we got home. At one point, there was a car coming at us while we crossed the street and he says I slowed down. I don’t remember that. M had to literally drag me through the parking garage to the car.

I e-mailed Dr. Messé the next day for the results. I’m not entirely sure they’re all in yet, but he mentioned my lipid panel wasn’t great and he may want me to go on medication for my cholesterol. I’m 27. Not exactly what I wanted to hear.

My angiogram is September 30. After that, I don’t know what. I’ll either see Dr. Messé or Dr. Zager and we’ll probably schedule surgery. I don’t know.

It’s a lot to take in. But hopefully it’s all over soon.

[PS – I set up a facebook fan page for the blog here, and you can sign up through Google friend connect now on the right there. Just wanted to let you know.]

4 Replies to “Tuesday, September 13”

  1. Oh my, I didn’t realize all you were going through. I’m so sorry. What kind of surgery are you speaking of, if you don’t mind me asking. Please keep us posted and remember, we are hear for you. Vent all you want! ~hugs~ I’m going to keep you in my prayers and hope they find out what’s wrong and have an easier solution than surgery. Keep the faith!

    1. The surgery involves taking the artery that runs along my temple and either attaching it to a vessel already in my brain, or touching the temporal artery to my brain and letting it branch off and grow. It’s unavoidable; the only other option is to wait for me to have a major stroke.

      I don’t know. I keep praying for a miracle – or just a break from all the stress – and so far, it’s not working. Even writing this post resulted in tears, and this comment. I am absolutely horrified about the surgery. I have no choice, though. I have two boys and a husband to live for, as well as many, many friends and family.

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