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Why are the holes in the breast MRI square?

standard May 8, 2014 7 responses

Why are the holes in the breast MRI square?

That was the first question that came to me as I awkwardly hoisted myself onto the platform, trying hard not to pitch over the other side head first. Why? Are there some women out there with square shaped breasts?

I really wanted to snap a picture so I could share it on Facebook, bring some of my virtual friends virtually into the room with me, so the whole thing wouldn’t feel quite so awkward and strange. But no. My cell phone was securely stowed in my little lockable cubby back in the changing room. It was just me in there. Me, the uncomfortable table, and the square shaped holes.

I sighed and lowered myself belly down onto the table. Positioning myself as best as I could before I called the young attendant back into the room.

As he explained the procedure I shifted, trying to find the least painful way to rest on the oddly shaped table. The center segment between the two holes was just wide enough to bite into both breasts uncomfortably and the top bit jabbed into my sternum.

“Right then, once we get started you can’t adjust anything any more, OK? This will take about 30 minutes.”

Nothing makes you want to shift more than being told you can’t. Nothing. Except being told not to shift and then being shoved into a long tube.

I lay there, face down, arms folded above my head, and I resisted every urge to move.

And then the machine started up.

I swear, one day, some guy is going to admit that MRI machines could totally have run silently, they just threw in the cartoon noises for shits and giggles.

At least the noises distract you from the need to twitch. Right?

30 minutes is a long time for someone like me, someone who likes to move, likes to talk, likes to be in touch with the rest of the world. It’s a long time to be alone in a tube, holding still, feeling things shift, and jerk, and thump in the machine surrounding you. It’s a long time to try not to think about what they’re trying to see through their images.

And yet I didn’t feel alone.

As I lay there visions of all the other women I know who must have lay on a similar machine came to me. Did they also wish they could shift? How did they distract themselves from not to thinking about what the machine was discovering?

I am fortunate. I have a doctor who cares about aggressive preventative care. I have a doctor who is keeping really close tabs on me and my health.

That MRI turned up some strange shadowing in my left breast. Something that needed to be checked out further with an ultra-sound. The ultra-sound led to a biopsy.

It was all very fast and surreal.

With my family history of breast cancer I live in a world where it’s not about wondering whether I get breast cancer one day, but more wondering when I’ll get it. That’s why the doctor is so aggressive in her hunt. That’s why I love her so much.

She told me she wasn’t overly concerned as she bandaged up my breast. I took her confidence to heart and left without too much fear in my gut. I walked out already writing a flippant blog post in my head labeling this whole thing the Jessica Rosenberg 2014 cancer scare… you know, the follow-up to the Jessica Rosenberg 2013 cancer scare.

I wrote the post. The origins of this post. And then I found I couldn’t press publish. Because, what if? What if saying “I don’t have cancer” over and over again on my blog is going to eventually anger the cancer gods and cause their wrath to flare?

The day before I got my results a good blogging friend got hers. She had a biopsy the same day I did. Hers was the result of a breast self-check. She found a lump.

Her biopsy came back positive. Scarily, terrifyingly positive.

My heart is both breaking for her because of the road she and her family now face and swelling with love and gratitude for the community that is mobilizing to support her in her fight. It took mere hours for Amanda’s Army to take up arms — our kind of arms, the funny words, words of love, words of support, research, fundraising, raising awareness, all the things bloggers do so very, very well — and come to her aid.

For 24 hours I watched our friends around the country carve time into their busy schedule to find ways to show Amanda they were there for her and, as I prayed for her, I also prayed that they wouldn’t have to come to my aid too.

I’m glad to say that my biopsy came back negative. I don’t have cancer. (This time.) 

I’m glad Amanda’s Army doesn’t have to divide and conquer. I’m glad I can throw my own energy into the fray. I’m glad Amanda will get all the love, all the support, all the everything we can do.

Odds are high you don’t know Amanda. That’s ok. Do me a favor though. You know that call you’ve been putting off? The one to the imaging center? The one to schedule that Mamogram you probably should have had two years ago? Please make the call now. It is infinitely easier to cure a cancer detected before it can be felt by touch. Mamograms don’t hurt nearly as much as people say. Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.

Amandas Army

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7 responses

  • I’m glad your results came back negative too. It is so scary when they find “something” on original tests and have to do more. When I was at Type-A last year I was awaiting results of ovarian tests from the surgery I had just a week before and it was scary. Luckily I was okay then too. I also have a history of breast cancer in my family so I know that feeling of “when am I going to get it”. Scary stuff, all of it. {{{HUGS}}}

  • Amanda’s news thoroughly shook me. I scheduled my first mammogram yesterday. I’m glad yours came back clear.

  • What a remarkable a vulnerable gift you shared with us with this post, Jessica–thank you. Prayers of gratitude for you, and healing prayers for Amanda. Jim

  • So happy yours came back negative, sweetie <3

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