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The Music of the Tube


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It was early February, 2000 and while everybody else was getting ready for Valentine's Day, I was getting ready for a full battery of tests, including my first MRI. I was in a bit of a funk.

Earlier in the week, I got the reports from the pelvic ultrasound. The “lesions" they'd seen on the CT scan seemed to be cysts, but they weren't sure. One ovary was greatly enlarged by this “mass. "

I had done a lot of research on the net and talked to my doctor and I knew this might be more cancer. Breast cancer and ovarian cancer often go hand in hand.

I was devastated. I had been feeling really good about making a great recovery from breast surgery, but now it looked like a hysterectomy might be in my future.

I moped around the house on Tuesday night, all of Wednesday and Wednesday night thinking about maybe having a whole new kind of cancer. I didn't even get dressed. Finally I found the strength to call the doctor and schedule more tests.

Thursday I was in a much better mood. I'd taken some action and scheduled the tests for Friday. Plus, I was thinking about all my friends who were there for me and praying for me. Life might not be good, but with friends and faith it usually doesn't stay too bad for too long.

By now I was used to tests so I wasn't nervous about most of them. They started Friday morning at 7:30, way before I usually even get up. The first test was the MRI. The prospect made me nervous.

I'm just a little bit claustrophobic, and the idea of being stuck inside a really small space was scary. But the staff did everything they could to make me comfortable.

They covered me with a blanket for warmth and gave me ear plugs for the noise they said I would hear. Then they gently pushed me into a narrow tube. The quick look I took showed about 5-6 inches of space between my face and the tube.

I kept my eyes shut most of the time!! One time though, I opened my eyes and found that it was light inside the tube. That helped. Don't ask me why, but I didn't really feel closed in.

Then the MRI started: Tap, tap, tap - like a drummer counting cadence on the rim of a snare drum. Then loud discordant sounds: sort of a doo-wop, doo-wop, doo-wop coupled with a low pitched busy signal.

This went on for what seemed like about 10 minutes. Slight pause, tap, tap, tap and different pitches of static like you get on a TV station after it goes off the air. I kept myself amused trying to imagine what tones would be next.

Then I was wheeled out, given a dye injection, and wheeled back in for “three more sets!" By then I was used to it and I got to see some of the pictures. They looked pretty to me, but I would have to wait until the following week for results.

So I set off for the rest of the day's tests, with one more thing I could check off life's list. I had my first MRI and survived by listening to the strange music of the tube.

Deb Haggerty is a breast cancer survivor who helps women with breast cancer and their loved ones by providing information, inspiration, and links to resources through her web site Positive Hope ( ). If you'd like to know the results of the tests, you'll find them in her email of February 17, 2000 ( ).


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