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Wednesday was my 18th MRI. (I went back and counted, so I’m pretty sure I’m right.) 18 MRIs in 10 years. Nearly 2 a year.

3 brain surgeries.  1 radiation treatment.  1 other surgery. (I never talked about it here because, unlike my other surgeries where we’ve spent time discussing the unlikely possibilities of death, paralysis, and blindness, this time we talked about the unlikely chance of a blood transfusion.  I’m fine, it helped with what it was suppose to help with.)  Migraines.  And countless orders for bloodwork, medicine scripts, and pills.

10 years.

It is unfair.  It is burdensome.  It is invasive.  It is hard to explain to other people.

It is my life.  It is all woven into my life to the point where I no longer really remember “before” except that it was.  It is all woven into my life so that my life is so much more, and always connected.

18 MRIs, 10 years, 3 surgeries.

 

Last week I went in for my yearly MRI.  My 17th MRI.  In the last 9 years.

Neurosurgeons like to have you do MRI’s for at least 5 years after they remove a tumor from your head.  And I’ve only ever made 3 years….

Every MRI has the potential for great post-teen but still angst ridden writing, and I haven’t done that.  Instead I’ve been caught up balancing my own (inevitable) stress with the also inevitable stress that these put my family through.

My tumors have only presented with symptoms once.  The need for every other surgery has been identified by my yearly MRI.  This, plus some other family history, makes my family a little extra jumpy when I have an MRI, or blood work, or go see a doctor.  Which in turn makes me a little jumpier.

This year I told my doctors they could schedule anything except during the same week as Ash Wednesday.  And I asked for an anti-anxiety pill during the scan.  MRI’s aren’t bad.  I mean they are loud, long, and boring, but they aren’t bad.  It’s me.  It’s that I’ve had to do 17 of these over 9 years.  It’s that this could mean nothing but an annoying hour or so, or it could mean surgery and forever of recovery.  It’s that this never used to happen.

And that whatever my doctor says in a few more days, I’ll be back next year.

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