This is a sketchy diary comic of my experience getting my first breast MRI.
There was a small rectangular window where my face was pressed against the head rest; I could see my hair cascading down over the underside of the cot-thing I was laying on. That’s what is depicted in the first and last panels of this comic. Mostly I kept my eyes closed, listening to the loud clanking, and in between when there was silence Greg or the MRI tech talked to me. There were plugs in my ears, so their voices sounded muffled and far away.
The whole thing lasted about 45 minutes. It was fine. I will get one of these once a year for the rest of my life unless I am pregnant.
Sometimes all these medical appointments feel stressful and I wonder why I am doing them. But really, mostly, I feel good to be doing them. It’s the only thing I CAN do in the face of my odds of getting cancer (85% chance over my lifetime). Early screenings are REALLY important because if I do get cancer, it will be diagnosed as early as possible, while it is small and treatable.
“Treatable” is the operative word here, because there is no “cure.”
Even though there is no cure, catching cancer early means it hasn’t spread yet and they can take it out surgically, possibly not needing chemotherapy at all. It means living longer and better. It means being around for my kids as they grow up. A better chance of growing old with my husband. It means maybe not dying the way my mom did.
It is REALLY important that I have health insurance coverage for these early screenings. They are impossibly expensive without that coverage. What I have is technically a “pre-existing condition,” a genetic disorder that I was born with that has been in my family probably forever. It isn’t my fault, or anyone’s fault, that we have this.
I am very nervous about the new “healthcare” bill. I am scared of losing my coverage for these screenings. I’m scared of losing coverage for pregnancy and birth and women’s bodies in general.
I am scared of having to choose not to get medical care because it costs too much money.
I am scared for anyone having to make that choice.
Part 4 takes place about 6 weeks after part 3, when my Aunt Theresa was in town visiting. She came with us for our follow-up MRI after the radio-surgery that took place in part 3.
Hey guys, I’m finally posting a new comic! This story is called “A Little Tune Up” and will be posted in several parts. If you are new to my blog, and have not yet read my cancer comics (which are about my experience dealing with my mom’s metastatic breast cancer), I recommend going to the Cancer Comics page and reading from the beginning.
note: good news does not mean she’s just like she used to be– it does not mean “all better” or “cancer is gone.” it’s a new phase, with effects from brain radiation and other things to contend with and lots of questions. it’s a process of constant reinvention and redefinition. we’re all in this process, not just mama, but me too, and all of us.
(but it’s still really f-ing good news.)
When we go to the hospital in Brattleboro we like to make a day of it: thrift stores, eating out at a cool place, just having a fun day trip instead of driving all that way just to go to a hospital appointment. Mama is really good at finding the fun in everything, and I actually end up enjoying these days. (The two dresses look awesome on her, and my dad even found a cool shirt.) There is also a restaurant where they make an amazing chocolate martini that is a staple of these trips.