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MRE, not for me

When a doctor told me that my little one needed an MRE, it wasn’t until I googled it that I discovered it’s actually an MRI of the belly. After my own horrifying experience in an MRI 5 years ago, I wondered how I would move forward with the test for my daughter. Inch by inch— with lots of questions.

Do we really have to do this test? Well, nothing takes pictures of our insides as precisely as an MRI. Who ever figured out that a massive, alarm-sounding magnetic machine could do this? Yes, we have to do this test, in order to figure out and rule out.

Do they have to use the contrast dye? Gadolinium, #67 on the good ol’ Elements Chart happens to have magnetic properties, which is why it is injected into our bodies. While researching its effects, of course, I found a study that says it may not be necessary for an MRE; unfortunately, it is still common practice around here.

Is the allergy to gadolinium genetic in any way? I’m severely allergic, so how likely could my daughter experience anaphylaxis during her test? How will you know??
No one knew.

Contrast downed. Johnny ties up. Earplugs on either side. Sandwiched between two cameras. Time to move on into the machine.

Fortunately, I was able to remain in the room with her during her MRE.

My body sidled along the MRI machine as our hands remained linked. My face pressed against the chilly plastic as I fought the urge to time travel back to being inside that tunnel wondering about the purpose of life on the heals of my BRCA2 diagnosis and the sudden death of my brother-in-law; struggling to breathe moments later.

“I want to get out!” My normally quiet daughter shouts. I respond with something that I will forever regret. Two times.

“No. We need to finish this test.”
She demanded to exit again. I repeated my response.

It wasn’t until the technicians scurried through the door asking what she was saying, that I came back into the present moment and realized what I was telling my daughter. They moved her out of the machine and the fear in her eyes matched much of what I remember from my own MRI experience. Omg! I wasn’t responding to my daughter at all. I was telling myself five years ago that I HAD to stay in the MRI, even though I was choking. I HAD to get those pictures to know that my breasts were clear of cancer, even though I was gasping for air.

The guilt had to wait. I looked my girlie straight in her baby blues and told her what was going to happen, how it was going to happen and how she was going to make it through. “I can do this!” I declared. “I can do this!” I had her repeat until she began to sound as though she convinced herself.

The MRE continued. The loud clanging chaos made it hard to focus. The counting. Hold for 10 then 20…

”I miss my mom!” she told the technicians when they asked how she was. I reassured her that I was right behind her. Unsure if she could hear me over all of the noise and layers of earphones, so I squeezed my love through our locked hands. That’s all she wanted to know going in—could her mom hold her hand through it all?

Low loud alarms sounded as I eyed the gadolinium pump ready to inject its venom. The anticipation nearly stole my breath away. Without warning, it light up like a slot machine to spin it’s injection.

“I don’t like the feeling in my arm!” She alarmed. “Oh no!” I thought. “Is she allergic??” While my gut reaction was to panic, I changed my tactic. She muttered that it was cold. Phew. She’s still able to talk. No coughing. My sensation was burning hot, so maybe she’s ok.

And within minutes it was over. My daughter was pulled out and set free. We made it through!

“The past has no power over the present moment.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

What moments in your life bring you back to a challenging time during your BRCA experience?