PT, ENT and MRI, Oh My!

by Kathy on May 19, 2013 · 12 comments

in Anticipation, Background, Coping, Expectations, Healing, Life, Pain

ENTAs I have shared here over the past few months, mostly through my Winter and Spring Shed Series, I have dealt with some challenging physical problems.

From weekly pelvic floor physical therapy (PT) sessions to try to address painful muscle spasms in my urethra and vagina (which I used to think were chronic urinary tract infections) to more recently going to see an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist to determine what might be causing or contributing to occasional, but reoccurring, nausea and dizzy spells, Garth Brook’s “Much Too Young (Too Feel This Damn Old)” song is starting to resonate with me. Though overall I still feel pretty good being 38 and am proud of how I try to eat healthy and exercise regularly.

The PT is really helping and I rarely experience muscle spasm “flare ups” anymore. When I do get them, I know what they are and what they are not, which helps me to get through them more calmly, understanding they don’t usually last very long these days and I have more tools to cope with them.

My first appointment with my ENT seemed to rule out a lot of things, which was a relief. Prior to that my PCP had done neurological tests in her office and sent me for blood work, both of which yielded normal results. While at the ENT’s office, I met with an audiologist, who ran a bunch of tests and concluded my hearing was fine. Ultimately the ENT thinks my bouts with vertigo-like symptoms may be connected with seasonal allergies, as well as some lock-jaw issues. He gave me helpful suggestions on how to address both, in addition to asking me to keep a diary for a few months in effort to note when I feel nauseous or dizzy what may have preceded it, such as not getting enough sleep, having caffeine, more sodium than usual and/or other things that could influence my equilibrium.

All of these doctor and therapy appointments have been a bit overwhelming, but I try to remind myself getting help and trying to figure out what is wrong, is better than suffering in silence, with no idea what could be causing my discomfort. I am certainly learning a lot about my body and mind and how everything is connected, including my organs, ears, nose and throat and how they can affect each other.

Finally, my ENT wants me to have a baseline MRI. He was very clear that he does not expect to find anything, but that he thinks it is a good idea, just in case, in light of the problems with nausea and dizziness I have experienced. The ENT also would have sent me for an echocardiogram, just in case, but I shared with him that I had one in 2008, during my pregnancy with Molly, and everything looked fine. He explained that what he would have been looking for with my heart, could not have developed since then, so it was unnecessary.

So tomorrow morning will be another first for me. I will get to experience an MRI.

I wasn’t particularly concerned about the procedure until I started telling a few people in my life about it and began to receive feedback about their experiences, including someone sharing she felt like she was in a coffin. Also, when I called to schedule my MRI, the person taking my information asked me if I was claustrophobic. I responded, “not that I know of.” But I also hadn’t thought about it much before that moment. Then she asked if I thought I would need to take a tranquilizer before the procedure. To which I said, “why?” and she replied, “some people do.” Again, until I heard that I wasn’t worried, but the whole interchange definitely put some ideas in my head about what it might be like, that I hadn’t considered before.

So here I sit, on the eve of my MRI and in spite of some of what I’ve learned, am feeling fairly optimistic about it. I intend to pray and practice my yoga and meditation breathing techniques to relax during the MRI and believe that I will be okay. Apparently it may take between 45 minutes and two hours, but I think I can handle it. I do ask that you please send your positive thoughts and prayers my way tomorrow afternoon as I experience my first MRI. Thank you.

Have you ever had an MRI?

If so, was it a positive or at least neutral experience?

Do you have tips to share about what worked for you?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Deborah May 19, 2013 at 7:21 pm

I had an MRI a few months ago when they diagnosed my gallstones. I was okay as long as I kept my eyes closed, although when I opened them I was a little freaked out. Mine lasted about 20 minutes (I think).

I think it would’ve been helpful to have someone there with me, if such a thing is even allowed, to help me feel less trapped. Of course, I was in the ER, at 3 am, in a hospital I’d never been to, so hopefully yours’ll be less scary. Good luck!
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2 April May 19, 2013 at 7:41 pm

I’ll be thinking of you Kathy, and praying that everything is fine. I had an MRI of my ankle and one of my head, but I don’t have any tips for you, as I’m actually most comfortable in small, enclosed spaces. Well, one tip: scratch before you start! The better you hold still, the less time it’ll take.
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3 Lori Lavender Luz May 19, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Hi, Kathy. As you know, I am a medically fearful person. I have had a couple of MRIs on my lungs, and it has not been traumatic at all (well, I do angst about the IV). I know you will do well, and I’ll be thinking of you.

I wonder if the dizzy spells might be vaso-vagal…? Not that I know too much about that. But I think it’s rather mild and easy to deal with.

XOXO
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4 kim May 19, 2013 at 9:43 pm

I’ve had several MRIs and left you a comment on FB, but my biggest advice is to not look inside the machine and close your eyes once you lay down and everything is in place. I think I might feel claustrophobic if I did look. I just close my eyes and focus on breathing or listening to the music they might play on headphones, but it’s hard to hear.

The folks doing the MRI will be able to talk to you and will make sure you are okay. I think you’ll be fine. Good luck!
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5 Justine May 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm

I’ve never had an MRI, but I think yoga breathing and meditation sounds like a good way to get through it! Here’s hoping that the test will bring you one step closer to the answers you need to feel better!
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6 It Is What It Is May 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I had a brain MRI when I was having some unexplained but frightening spells. I had been prepped by others to expect the worst, but I am not particularly claustrophobic so I wasn’t that concerned. The worst part of it, frankly, was the IV.

I also had a pelvic MRI (which was easy peasy…feet first).

It is a lot of magnetic ‘knocking’ and it is odd to have someone in another room talking to you over a speaker and telling you what to do and when, and mine did take a LONG time, but as diagnostic tests go, I found it neutral.

I hope that you find it a non-event.
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7 Hilary May 20, 2013 at 6:03 am

I had an MRI last year. My arm kept getting numb. After much checking out, i realized it was how I was sitting at my desk using a new flat keyboard. I thought I would be more scared than I was. It really isn’t bad. They play music. You will hear a lot of knocking. Marc always is doing construction around the house so I pretended I was listening to him and his hammer…

good luck
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8 lostintranslation May 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I’ll be thinking of you Kathy! I have no experience with MRIs myself. My mom had two in those four months of her illness – the first one was a horrible experience, she described it as making a terrible hammering noise and she vowed never to have one again. She did however, a few weeks later, in another hospital, and it was a world of difference with the first one… Hope yours will be OK. Bon courage !

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9 Catwoman73 May 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Thinking of you Kathy! I’ve taken plenty of ICU patients for MRI’s, but never had one myself. Close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Most clinics will give you ear plugs to help reduce the noise, but I would bring a set, just in case. I know some clinics also can put a CD of your choice on, and give you non-magnetic headphones to wear during the scan, so bring a CD with music that helps you relax, in case that is an option. Good luck!!!
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10 marwil May 21, 2013 at 5:46 am

Oh, I hope it went well and that you could remain calm throughout the MRI. Also, hope the results came back ok, thinking of you.

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11 Em May 30, 2013 at 10:13 pm

I know that you’ve already had the MRI, so this is kind of useless to you now, but Harriet had to have an MRI when she was about a year old. It was a little bit nerve-wracking because they had to put her completely under. I had a partial MRI myself, but it was a pretty quick experience and it was a long time ago, nothing like what you recently went through.

So sorry you’re experiencing all of these symptoms. )-:
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