Breast MRI = Alien Spa Day

Medical procedures are unpleasant. Fact.

People who love you will try to tell what to expect so you won’t be scared or shocked. The Monday after my diagnosis I had to have a breast MRI. Here’s what people told me:

“You’re going to be face down on a hard uncomfortable table with your breasts in these holes. It’s the worst.”

“It’s going to be loud and uncomfortable.”

“It’s very claustrophobic. Don’t open your eyes.”

“It takes 45 minutes and you can’t move.”

“Take 2 Xanax before you go.”

Here’s how it really was…

I took 1 Xanax before I went.

We arrived at Diagnostic Centers of America, which is decorated like a luxurious spa with waterfalls, TVs playing HGTV, and cloth robes in pretty colors. I sat down to fill out forms. It was the first time in my life that I wrote “breast cancer” in my medical history. Up to this point I’ve never had anything to report except my allergy to penicillin.

The Xanax picked the perfect moment to take effect. It descended upon me as a cloud of shimmering mist, settling into the senses, providing a buffer between me and this new world that I should be so afraid of. I began to smile, just a little. It just didn’t matter anymore.

I was brought into a small room where I changed into a blue robe and was set up with an IV where they would later inject the contrast. Needles. I hate needles. That was the worst part.

They walked me to the MRI room. The woman opened a huge door that looked like the entrance to a bank vault. That’s when I entered the space ship. The room glowed with a pale blue light that washed over the sterile, shiny machine that took residence in the center of the room.

I opened the front of my robe as I was helped onto a table. Not a hard, uncomfortable table, a luxurious massage table. There were pillows around the three holes (face and boobs) and another pillow that was positioned under my legs to ensure optimal comfort levels while I had my massage. I was covered with a plush blanket and given some headphones. I selected 90s music.

Then the ride started. I flew forward, spinning through space (though I was later told the motion was simply up and forward). The music began. “Killing Me Softly”… really? The aliens were having a rock concert and began to play their loud  music, which drowned out my music. All I could hear was the bass, but I actually knew the song, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”. Much better.

The noise stopped and I could hear the song in the headphones again, “The Sweater Song”. I was suddenly transported through time, watching my cousins sing the song together and dance around the living room.

The rock concert began again. The aliens really love loud music. Good thing I do too. I allowed myself to relax into the table while my spa treatment continued.  I had a cool arm infusion. Some more music and then it was over. Twenty minutes.

Aliens probably shouldn’t run spas.

They wrapped up my arm where the needle was, I got dressed, then Brian and my two moms (mine and his) took me out for lunch. I had a giant chocolate muffin. Giant chocolate muffins are good for the soul.


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