Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Nothing Screams Christmas Like an MRI

Presents purchased and wrapped - check
Cookies baked and delivered - check
Advent devotions read faithfully to the kids - check
Spinal MRI done - check......

It just doesn't really fit in, does it? But, that's how life works. Today I got to experience my first MRI - and join the ranks of the rest of my family for high cost, high technology film work to be done. I wasn't at all aprehensive - I'm not claustrophobic and frankly the idea of being still for 45 minutes was kind of exciting. I only "swallowed" once, the MRI folks gave me huge praise (and guessed my weight a good 15 pounds less than reality - thanks for the Christmas gift!), and the experience felt like a little bit tighter and less warm - and a lot louder - tanning bed.

Most of you know the reason behind the MRI. I've been diagnosed with both a herniated disc and then degenerative disc disease in my neck over the last 5 years (in laymen's terms, it means the padding between my discs is deteriorating - a kind of arthritis). Since the accident I was involved in year and a half ago, the pain and headache occurences have been about 4 times worse (based on frequency). So, I was adviced to get a real good look at what was going on before the claim is settled. My MRI is the least concerning of the ones my family has experienced.

By timeline - here's the reasons for their radiology visits:

January 2000 - We're in Honolulu as our family of 3 for John's work. Things were just not what we wanted them to be, we were not pleased with the company paid for hotel and the feel of Honolulu vs. Maui. (In other words, we were acting like spoiled brats). Everything changed on that first Sunday when Brayden (at nine months) "checked out" with his eyes and tongue twittering and him not focussing. We tried to dismuss the first experience, but by the time the second happened fifteen minutes later we were panicked - trying to get to a doctor as soon as we could. It happened twice again - the last time in front of the clinic daughter and they sent us to an incredible Women's and Children's hospital. It was there that he received Cat Scans, MRI's, MRA's, EKG's, and an EEG. He had had seizures, that was for certain but what had caused them was a great mystery. A brain tumor? - unfortunately, my first heart breaking conclusion, but fortunately the first thing to be eliminated with the Cat Scan. Epilepsy? - we didn't know if we should pray for that, as it is a terrible conclusion, but better than others. Meningitis? - the spinal tap eliminated that. A hole in his heart? - no, that looked great. How about a stroke....and yes, our nine month old boy had indeed suffered a minor stroke. Future tests eliminated any pre-disposition for it to repeat itself - and I think Brayden is as healthy as it gets. What an amazing experience to have been through - and to be able to praise God indefinitely for.

February 2002 - Mikayla is 2 months old and all of a sudden we notice her right cheek looks quite a bit larger than her left. We went to the doctor unconcerned, but he had no answers. Neither did the facial specialist. Before we knew it, Mikayla had had x-Rays and an MRI to determine what the mass was beneath her cheek. Was it benign? Was it muscle cancer? Folks weren't sure even after the tests had been done, so we were sent to the biggest hospital in the state. The surgeons were eager to cut her open and investigate - the only way they could be sure. Of course, this would involve cutting her entire cheek open and potentially damaging nerves that would forever affect her smile..... but if it was cancer....... The case was going to be reviewed by another doctor and I remember being in the car when I received the call that the doctor was adament against doing surgery - and simply wanted to follow up every few years. I guess she's due for that follow up MRI this year, but at this stage in the game, the mass is completely unnoticable. We'll perhaps never know why, but we're thankful for the results.

May 2004 - This story is still so new, I'm sure everyone knows it. John got his chance for special radiology when he was admitted to the hospital for a blood clot. The ultrasound showed one was lodged in his calf, but Cat Scans also showed a lung full of blood clots. Long story short, he had a terrible case of pnuemonia, and only one small clot in his lung. Combine that with his jaw being wired shut, looking like Hannibal Lector, it was not an easy time. We honestly thought we might be losing him that night - it makes me tear up to write about it.

God is good - that's all I can say right now.

Merry Christmas everyone.


stephietoo said...

Man! I can remember every single incident like they just happened yesterday. It's amazing how good God is, and how much you appreciate what you have after going through these types of trials. I still remember sitting at your house with the kids, rocking Mikayla as she was crying at 1:00 a.m. and thinking how brave Brayden was being as he sat beside me and consoled his sister, as you sat down at the hosptial with John waiting for the doctors to tell you something, anything...

Thank you for this post; I will definitely be thanking God a little more this holiday season, and will enjoy Sunriver just a touch more knowing that I am in the company of the very best friends a person could ever ask for. I love you guys so much!

StephieAnne said...

You're the best, Steph!