MRI Results Are In

MRI Results Are In

MRI results are in. The radiologist’s report showed up in my patient portal. Long story short: “Previously described enhancement in the mid ventral medulla appears less pronounced on the current exam.”

As a cancer patient with an inoperable brain tumor, I feel like the word “appears” is doing some extra work. But I mostly feel relief. It hasn’t grown!

I texted my immediate family last night with the MRI results, and then added Double Stuf Oreos and Ben & Jerry’s to the curbside grocery order that Dan picked up this morning.

Par. Tay.

I used to number these scans, but I’ve lost track and don’t feel like counting all the reports in my patient portal. Maybe later. I’m averaging about 5 a year since 2017. So I’m guesstimating around 25? Maybe?

As usual, the radiologist noted THICC mucus in my sinuses. At this point, I blame the cat. I am slightly allergic, and my immune system is borked. Plus blaming Izzy is payback for all the times she’s fished cellophane out of my trashcan this week and left it for me to pick up.

Meanwhile, construction continues at Mom’s. She told me the shower is no longer in the garage, they moved it inside. (w00t!) It’s one of those big-ticket fixtures that has to be placed first, and then they’ll build around it. So, yeah, kind of a big deal.

By the way, another $400 in donations will pay off the unit AND installation. Which is under 50% of the goal we set, but is also more than I expected.

I’ll probably have more ice cream to celebrate reaching that milestone. Ice cream has always been my favorite food. But with stomatitis, it’s medicinal, okay? Leave me alone.


Mom said they hoped to have framing finished for the whole basement this weekend. It’s taking shape, and the progress is exciting to watch.

More updates when I have them. Enjoy your #Caturday, folks.

I’m a Bad Ass. The end.

I’m a Bad Ass. The end.

Note to self: Always use the Heart and Vascular Institue hospital entrance. No noses in sight, and personal space abounds.

Yesterday’s MRI experience wasn’t the worst I’ve ever had, but it also wasn’t the best. I skated by a couple swarms of visitors on the elevators, and it was such a relief.

Because radiology is in the basement, everyone saw the elevator was going down and waited to catch the next one. There was a properly masked woman in scrubs who got confused when I boarded.

“What floor do you need?” she was ready to push a button for me.

When I told her I was going to the basement, she seemed less concerned. “Oh! Well that’s where we’re going!”

Then she led me to the MRI check-in and even pushed the wheelchair button so I could shuffle on through with my rollator.

After checking in, the MRI tech tried to start an IV for the contrast. When techs hear I’m on chemo, they always ask so hopefully if I have a port.

“It’s oral chemo,” I reply watching the light fade from their eyes. We both know chemo veins are rat bastards—and to make things just a little more difficult, a larger-gauge needle is required so they can get the contrast in quickly. “I’m pretty easy going about this,” I say encouragingly.

It took three sticks altogether. After a little digging on my right arm, he said, “I’m not a proud man. Let me get a second set of eyes.” A nurse came in and got one going on my left arm, but there was some discussion about veins and I remember her repeatedly telling me to keep breathing.

I didn’t realize I was holding my breath, to be honest.

Oh yeah, that’s why I feel lightheaded.

I’m not squeamish when it comes to needles, but my brain can’t do two things at once. Like, say, breathe AND wish the MRI was over.

Inside the tube, they played some piano music. Instrumental, but I recognized a hymn from my church-going childhood, and I immediately pictured my dad standing in the church foyer.

Now, for those of you who’ve never had an MRI, you have to be really still in the machine or you can blur the images and they have to start over, making an unpleasant experience drag out even longer.

So naturally, being exhausted, I felt some breakthrough grief welling up. I was on the verge of sobbing from my shoulders, the way kids who fall off their bikes do, but somehow I managed to stifle it.

I think I was able to suck it up by reminding myself how long my head would be strapped into the brace even if everything went perfectly.

An hour and a half is a very long time to be perfectly still. A solo piano version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” played next. That song desperately needs to be sung. I mean, it’s an amazing song. But it’s overdone now. And then for the melody to just be plinking keys without feeling or dynamic range? Gah! It was awful.

I’m 95% sure it was an electronic keyboard actually. It was emotionally flat, so either synthesized sound or the pianist was a psychopath.


It was a long 90 minutes folks. When “All I Ask of You” started playing I remember feeling curled up and twisted from head to toe. I reminded myself it was physically impossible to be in the position my brain was trying to tell me I was in and still be on the MRI table.

But the song wrapped up at almost exactly the same time the screeching ended. I was pretty dizzy, so I asked to be wheeled to the main waiting area. The MRI tech took me on a staff elevator, where everyone was properly masked.

Dan picked me up. I ate ice cream. I am a bad ass. The end.

New T-Shirt Idea

New T-Shirt Idea

The new T-shirt idea is coming. Wait for it.

My MRI is in a couple hours, and I’m spending a lot of time inside my own head thinking about unpleasant things. Not even cancer related really.

I am simultaneously ready for this to be over and wishing it wouldn’t start. It’s a long MRI day. Technically two appointments, but it will all just feel like one long scan for the person inside the tube.

That’ll be me, by the way.

I do most appointments alone. Dan just drops me off because there’s no point in both of us getting on the elevator where someone will absolutely have their mask pulled under their chin.

Is it just me, or are noses obscene now?

It feels like the best choice two immunocompromised people can make, but I feel untethered. Mostly alone. Rollating down long, unfamiliar hallways while everything around me spins.

I’m carefully numb. I’m not scared of hospitalization. I just dread One More Thing.

When I think about people who can’t be bothered to properly mask in a hospital, I get depressed. So fuck them. I’m just going to be angry instead. It’s easier.

I’ve got a new T-shirt idea. I’ll design one that says. “I’m on Medicare. Every time I land in the hospital, Joe Biden raises gas prices. ” I bet I’d get my personal space back. Shoot, I might even get an elevator all to myself.

“But, Emily, that’s not at all how Medicare…”


I mean, who among us hasn’t handed a toddler an iPad?

Construction Update!

In my most recent GoFundMe update, I mentioned that the plumbing passed inspection. Here’s photographic evidence. Look at that sexy shower drain!

Biscuits for Breakfast

Biscuits for Breakfast

My body won’t decide if it’s hot or cold and the top sheet and quilt are no longer anchored to the foot of the bed. That’s how you know yesterday was a chemo day.

Breakfast went okay. I had a biscuit with a little jam and water. After it felt settled, I even had a second biscuit.

That got me singing “Biscuits and Butter” by Carrie Newcomer, but I could only recall the lines “I packed them biscuits and butter / and never saw them again.” So I got worried the woman in the song had poisoned her family and had to do a little lyric research. Whew!


I’m pretty sure now that trying to move through the vertigo causes the majority of my vomiting. If I stay in place a little longer than I’d like too, my odds of keeping food down increase exponentially.

The biscuits were surprisingly good. Just those frozen off-brand pucks of dough from the big box store, but really tasty. Of course, most things taste different to me. So what do I know?

I can promise you, though, that the frozen biscuits are so much better than the canned ones. Less fun to open, but you can’t have everything.

Anyway, I think I’ll do the temodar thing until Friday as planned, but then next week is my MRI, so I’m thinking I’ll take that week off. Chemo elevates anxiety, and I’d be pretty embarrassed if I puked in the screeching magnetic rage tube.

I’m getting the perfusion MRI next Wednesday. That’s the one that takes a long-ass time. Too bad I can’t play Animal Crossing while I’m in there.

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