I got another MRI the other day. As I am laying down, getting ready to be submerged into the technological tunnel, the radiologist asks me:
“How many of these have you gotten?”
And I just instantly laugh. This is a secret joke. You see, she sees my bald head and knows that I had for sure a few, at least. The MRI seems to be oncologists medical imaging of choice. But she does not know how many times my head has been bald, how many times I have gone through this.
I laughed. And shout out a quick, on-my-feet kinda answer. “At least 10,” I tell her.
Even though she humored me, her question got me thinking as I’m sliding now into the MRI’s depths, the noises deafening, the images appearing. I am now all numbers, racing to count time and instances (pop quiz!) —
I was 13 when I was first diagnosed.
I had to have an MRI then. (There’s 1.)
And I remember being mad once during an overnight at the hospital beause I wanted to watch American Idol but instead my entertainment for the evening was being enclosed into an MRI machine. (There’s 2.)
And then after treatment is completed, during remission, you get MRIs consistently every 3 months for a year or two (Ok, that’s 4 per year, for 2 years…that’s 8…total now is 10…haha, I am going to be so off on my quick estimation, my guess.)
Then after 2 years of being cancer free, you get MRIs now every 4 months. (Add another 9 MRIs to that. That is 19.)
Relapse at 18. There’s at least 1 before, 1 during, 1 after. (Add 3. Total: 22)
Remission imaging. Again. Every 3 months. Now every 4 months. (Total: 39)
Now, here I am again.
At 23, I’ve had 2 more since my relapse. (Total: 41)
(My father, the math teacher, would be proud of my basic counting and algebra skills.)
Oh my. No wonder I hate MRIs.
I swear, if you wanted to experience Hell, that would be it. An MRI.
Don’t move. You’re enclosed all around you by the machine, head to toe, submerged into a technological tunnel. And from somewhere (God knows where, but shouldn’t I of all people be so familiar with this?) from the tunnel comes these noises. Like almost a honking. But no, the machine is yelling at you, literally. For at least an hour, or more. But you cannot move to stop it. No, you can’t even talk. There is no one around you who is human, who can see that is a human. Look up, and the tunnel is a few inches away from your face.
That is truly Hell. No other humans to talk to, to interact with. Can’t move, and you are tied down to ensure that you won’t move either, even if you tried. And defeaning noices, an electronic yelling, constant, that you cannot shut down or off no matter how much you desire to.
That is Hell. No one is there around you. Can’t stop anything. Can’t move. Isolation from the Love Himself. Thank You that I will never be there but with You always.