Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Sarah sandwich in a tube

We are on our way to the MRI now. I am typing in the car. Robert is accompanying me, I'm happy about that. I don't have to do the driving.

I've been fasting for four hours, and living in the desert, my mouth is completely dry.
I'm looking forward to this being over, and receiving the results, whatever they are. I need to know what is going on, I feel like I can't  move on with anything until I know what is with all the pain.

What I do know, and it makes itself blatantly clear on a hourly basis, is that the Fentanyl still isn't completely out of my cells. A few days ago I almost went straight to my doctor. I felt that I didn't have enough oxygen to breathe. I felt that feeling of a cinder block on my chest, and it is scary. When I walked, unless I went really slowly, I would feel out of breath. That medicine is serious stuff. I told Robert that I needed to go to the health clinic, I felt I needed an oxygen mask. He did his thing... going down to check the internet again about Fentanyl withdrawal. He came up with studies that show that since Fentanyl is stored in the fat cells, it can take up to six weeks to exit the body, because apparently fat cells detox at a slow rate. I'm sure it's some "survival of the fittest" thing, but whatever it is, it did comfort me some that this is just another expression of more withdrawal. I just didn't expect it to carry on for so long, and to repeat a stage I thought was finished. Now I know. I waited it out, and indeed, it passed by the next day. What I know now is that I am not done with withdrawal. I wonder if more pain, on a deeper level, is also going to make an appearance? Let's hope not. I don't think I could handle that.

OK, the MRI is done. But W O W, it was the longest one of my LIFE. I've had an MRI every six months for 8 years now, and never has it been this long. At the end of it, when I couldn't move myself from the stiff position I was in for an entire hour, the technician told me that he needed to be very thorough, making sure everything is clear and visual for diagnosing PVNS, and for the impingement and labrum tear. He did the same on both thigh joints, and he said he also scanned the lower abdomen. He commented on the amount of clips around Gapey, holding the mesh there. Apparently he was impressed.

I prefer CT scans to MRI's although health-wise CT's are much more problematic because of the amount of radiation. MRI's don't use radiation, so they are a completely safe diagnostic tool. But, while a CT is like a doughnut or bagel around the area to be scanned, with all other parts of the body not in the doughnut, the MRI is a big white tube, where if you have your eyes open, all you see very close up is that you are in a very snug tube. I feel quite claustrophobic if I open my eyes. I'd rather just keep them closed and ponder things. if I'm lucky, I get to disassociate and be somewhere else entirely.

Then there are the heavy "antennas" they put under my back and on top of my entire middle- heavy "H" frames that are velcro'd together, front and back, making me feel like a Sarah sandwich. My arm has an iv in it so they can push the contrast dye through my veins at the appropriate times. In this particular MRI, I felt that stuff being released into my vein four times. Each time the fluid gets released into the vein, one starts to feel weird, burning in the throat, hot in the face, then the whole body, especially the middle, gets cold/hot feeling all at the same time. It is not altogether awful, but not pleasant either.

Then, there is the noise of the machine itself. I decided (having much time to ponder the sounds) that it is like being inside a video game with your head as the amplifier, with random jackhammer pounding whenever it wants. One has to wear small foam earplugs (they give everyone their own, fresh pair), and a large foam headset to protect the ears from the volume of the noise. And even with those, it feels like your head is a video game being occasionally overrun by jackhammers. Anyone want to add their personal experiences to this description? I wonder if other people experience it differently.

Home now, still feeling icky from the contrast dye, but it'll pass. You are supposed to drink a lot in the next 24 hours to wash it out of your system.

In the meantime, you know what?
Hashem is showing me perspective. We have one dear friend fighting for her life for 6 weeks already in hospital after a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Today I heard of another friend who is pregnant with twins (which I didn't know, L.E.!), and simultaneously got a diagnosis of breast cancer.
I have another friend we are worried about... make that another two friends- who have cancer scares looming over their heads, waiting for diagnoses.

So I had a hard MRI? Ill get over it by tomorrow. I don't know what to expect in the evaluation, but for now I have perspective that as hard as things sometimes feel, right next to you is someone who needs your urgent prayers.

Please pray for Chava Yehudit bat Rivka.

yours, truly... Sarah Rachel bat Tova.

Addendum: it is with great saddness that I must notify you that my friend Eva Weil, written above with her Hebrew name- Chava Yeuhudit Bat Rivka, passed away today. Baruch Dayan Emet (blessed is the True Judge).


  1. prayers of healing for you, my dearest Sarah!

  2. Oh man............ What do you do inside? Breathing and relaxation techniques?

    1. Do inside? Its just you and your mind. I try relaxation techniques when things start to cramp and I can't move. Mostly I ponder... try to work on issues around my kids, or if I succeed, a good guided imagery in my mind can take me away completely to the open white clearing of fresh snow in the Swiss Alps... my "go to" place from my hiking days way back when.

  3. interesting...they say cancer rates are not changing but I also seem to know too many people dealing with it. But that does not diminish the seriousness of your situation...quality of life is also important and you need to feel well. Hope this MRI makes things clearer. If you are up for a visit or want to bring your younger kids to the kibbutz-petting zoo and pool etc. let me know.

  4. Shalom Sarah:

    I read your blog in tears. You are such a strong woman, mother, and wife. May Hashem bless you with a long life with your loving family, AMEN.
    Meier Meyers
    G-d willing, we will see each other at Rambam on Shabbat
    June 26, 2015

    Meier Meyers