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Something happened inside the cylinder

I had the MRI last night at the Civic Hospital around 10:00. Did you know they have MRIs scheduled round the clock?

Fortunately, Donna Lee had left a comment giving me some idea of what to expect – ie, lying on my stomach with my breasts dangling through two holes in the table. Otherwise, when the very nice technician showed me the table and said it was fairly intuitive, I might have put my arms through those breast holes.

My arms were stretched out in front of me. There was a thing in one arm so they could remotely administer an injection halfway through the MRI. In my other hand was a rubber bulb, which I was instructed to squeeze if I started to panic or needed the technician’s attention.

Headphones were placed over my ears to muffle the noise a bit. But holy mother of god, that machine is noisy! I had heard there would be banging and clanging, but it was more intentional than I expected. More rhythmic. And constantly changing.

As soon as she slid me into the giant cylindrical magnet, I started chanting over and over in my head: Nam myoho renge kyo. It’s a Buddhist chant. I chanted so I could focus on something other than the noise.

Something odd happened after awhile though – the noises of the machine started chanting along with me. The banging and clanging started to sound like Nam myoho renge kyo. The noises kept changing, but the chant followed the changes. When you’re in a room full of people chanting, there’s a vibration, a hum. In addition to the clanging sounding like chanting, the vibrations of the machine started feeling like that hum.

The MRI was still disturbingly loud and I was relieved when the half hour test was over, but the chanting made it feel like a kinder and less mechanical experience.

Also – good news. The appointment for finding out the results of all these tests has been moved up because the MRI got changed to the Civic Hospital because two different doctors ordered the same MRI for me. Now, instead of having to wait until June 8th to find out if the cancer has spread, I’ll know the morning of June 1st – next Monday. June 1st will either be a very good day or a very bad day for me.

18 comments to Something happened inside the cylinder

  • Cool. So aside from the chanting, what other superpowers do you have now?

    (That’s what MRIs do, right? Give you superpowers?)

    – RG>

  • Half an hour? Wow, had no idea one had to stay inside those things for so long! They must have to sedate people who have claustrophobia.

  • Oma

    June 1 is an auspicious day. It is the day that MudMama presented us with Nature Girl … green goddess and Gemini dragon … and it will be a day when you will get good news. I feel it deep inside me.

  • That test sounds way worse than I ever imagined. Yet you found grace throughout it. I have a really good feeling about this. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m just picking up on your great attitude, but I have a good feeling about June 1, and I wanted you to know. Thinking of you, admiring your strength…

  • Donna P

    Thanks for explaining all about what they do.. its helpful to know these things. Half an hour though…wow… that is incredible. Chanting..good idea, I will think about chanting next time I am at the dentist I will chant in my head. It might help.

  • Don

    I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you on June 1st.

  • This is an amazing story. You are an amazing writer. Am hoping hard for amazing news (and I think that it follows logically 😉

  • Fingers and toes are crossed for you until Monday…

  • grace

    I am so awkward. I would hate to think what I would have thrust through the openings. Still embarrassed that I thought it was your brain they were looking at . . .

    Hate to be a copy cat but put me down for another ‘good feeling’.


  • Nat

    Are there happy healing positive Buddhist chants, we can help with?

    (I did know about scheduling. They run the MRIs and the Civic and General 24/6 and for a number of hours on Sunday. If folks are willing to go in at odd hours, they can usually find you a slot.)

  • I took my mp3 player inside and listened to music. They gave me the bulb and i had the IV so they could add the dye for contrast. They did tell me that I could push the bulb if I couldn’t stand it anymore but to remember that if they had to pull me out, that I would have to start all over. I grit my teeth and dealt.

  • Linda Anne

    Once again Zoon – you are so amazing for sharing your journey with us. I will be continuing to think of you each day and send positive thoughts your way.

    Cheers – Linda Anne

  • XUP

    I’m crossing all of Woody’s fingers and toes for you too — I’m doing my own as well, but I have a feeling hers are more magical.

  • RealGrouchy, the Superpowers haven’t been activated yet…I’m waiting. I’m sure they’ll reveal themselves any day now.

    Chrystal, yes, they do have to sedate claustrophobic people. The good thing about having your breasts MRI’d is that you’re face down; apparently it’s more claustrophic if you’re on your back.

    Oma, I hope you’re right. I’m not sure I believe in gut feelings, but I’d rather people had good ones than bad ones.

    Kate, thanks – I don’t feel like there’s strength involved, since I’m just doing what I have to do and getting through it as best I can. But thank you.

    Donna P – oh yeah, chanting at the dentist. Good idea. I chanted as I was jumping out of an airplane once.

    Thank you Don, I appreciate that.

    Laurie, thank you so much, that means a lot coming from you.

    Woodsy, fingers and toes, eyes too!

    Grace, I loved that you thought they’d find a brain in my breast. (“Good news! It’s not a tumor after all, it’s an extra brain!”)

    Nat, the only Buddhist chant I know is that one, but it’s a good all-encompassing, all-purpose chant: Nam myoho renge kyo.
    (pronounced: nam -m -yo – ho – ren – gay -k-yo)

    Donna Lee, they never mentioned to me that I could bring an MP3 player in with me! Could you even hear it in there with all that noise?

    Linda Anne, one of these days I’ll blog about why I’m blogging about this stuff. In the meantime, I’ll just tell you it’s not because I’m amazing. :) Thanks for the positive thoughts.

    XUP – okay, you can just cross your eyes. :)

  • Hey XUP, I was wondering what all those fluttery feelings were all over my hands, feet, and [redacted]

  • Still sending positive thoughts your way. With all my might.

  • Do you know about tonglen meditation? Google it. This is what I practice – my greatest gift from Shambhala Buddhism.

    In a nutshell you focus on someone else’s (someone you directly know – ummm YOU!) pain/suffering/fear/etc on the inbreathe and on the outbreathe you send them (YOU!) peace, love, compassion, happiness, assurity, optimism – whatever you feel they need.

    We very often have trouble doing this because our own needs for compassion get in the way of our ability to send out that love and peace. So when that happens you use the same technique but move to the global level and bring in the pain all the other people in your circumstance are going through and on theoutbreathe send out that calm that touches you too.

    It’s an expansive exercise in compassion.

    Anyhow, I’m meditating on you, that you get all the space and peace you need while you wait.

  • June 1st will be a very good day, I just know it. They do MRI’s around the clock here too, my husband had an appointment at 3 AM. I had an MRI once that took almost two hours. It was at the old Wellesley Hospital in T-Dot just a month before they were tearing it down and it was the last and oldest MRI machine in Toronto. I had earplugs but the noise was really bad and I’m a bit claustrophobic. I hope I never need another one…ciao