Monday, March 12, 2007

A peek inside my head

in response to the 12 day migraine, I had an MRI this afternoon. I know Torquemada would have had a blast with this if the technology had been around in Inquisition days. As far as medical tests go, I'd rather deal with a neophyte phlebotomist with a sadistic streak while I'm seriously dehydrated than get another MRI. I'm not normally claustrophobic, but that infernal tunnel really trips the phobia switch in me. In a not so delicious irony, the noise kicked the volume up on the headache as well. It hasn't been migraine level in a week now, but it hasn't really gone away either.

I was tense going in. In my TMI, why do I embarrass myself like this way, I have to confess that the last time I had an MRI, I weighed roughly 80 pounds more than I do now. (I had started losing weight before Weight Watchers, and the cumulative weight loss is hovering around 100 pounds, but the official count is still a little over 55. Yay, me!) It was questionable then whether I would fit. I can feel the blush rising to my cheeks. It's one thing to reveal numbers, but that reveals my size. Yes, I was huge. Some would say I still am, but screw them. I know that I'm a Phenomenal Woman.

Today, there was room to spare, but it still felt like a coffin. Images from all the horror stories I've read and watched over the years kept popping into my head. Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Joss Whedon, Quentin Tarentino and others were all conspiring against me. Luckily I used to date a hypnotherapist who taught me some wonderful relaxation and visualization techniques. (Kisses to you, Don, wherever you are. I was really, really grateful to have known you today.)

As soon as I was completely within the tube, I did a progressive relaxation from my scalp down to my toes. (It's not until I concentrate on this that I realize how much tension I carry. I swear even my ears tighten up.) From there, I began to picture myself in a wide open field. With the temperature in the 70s and a breeze that could tempt the worst agoraphobe to play outside, this wasn't hard. There I was at the farm with the wind in my hair. I could see the buds on the pecan trees and the crape myrtles, the blossoms on the pear trees and the forsythia, drifts of buttercups, feel the knee high weeds and wildflowers tickling me, and the cockle burrs clinging to the hem of my long and flowing skirt. (Where that did historical romance book cover image come from?)

Then the noises began, and my images shifted with their different tempos. There I was at the beach with waves crashing around my ankles and pulling the sand away beneath my feet. Then I was floating on the waves, looking up at a night time sky, which morphed into Van Gogh's Starry Nights. A change in pace took me to a concert by The Who, and I was jumping, screaming and singing in the crowd. Then I was Pete Townshend smashing my guitar on stage. Another tempo and there I was on some disco dance floor, sweating, spinning, grooving for all I was worth, movements completely wild and free. A more chugging rhythm, and I was once again that sweet wild teen who hopped a freight car with her boyfriend but was too chicken to jump off until we were in the soft flat land of rural Arkansas. That transitioned to where I was riding a galloping horse across a heather dotted moor with Heathcliff on another stallion beside me.

Despite my discomfort, I did keep myself relatively calm, even amused, without the benefit of my reliable xanax. I have to wonder now if the images in my mind affected the image of my brain. It's an old question but an interesting one: Can our thoughts physically imprint themselves on our bodies? That's what I was thinking about as I drove home with the windows down. I put the thought aside though. I'd spent literally too much time inside my own head today, and it was time for nothing more than the wind in my hair and the sun on my face. With a little more of those, I might not need to fret over migraines.

health and wellness, , , , ,


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

A weird way to spend the afternoon. But I'm glad you were able to keep the panic at bay. I'm not sure I would have done as well.

March 12, 2007 10:29 PM  
Blogger Kimberley McGill said...

Oh, my! I hope the migraines are no longer plaguing you - they are so horrible. I had them until I was 32 and they suddenly stopped. And the MRI - you did much better than I did. This past year I had another one and it wasn't so bad, it was an open MRI. And yes! Yay you! You have apparently come a long way with weight loss - I'm in the midst of losing - at 12 pounds and counting. Still have quite a way to go. Feel well soon!

March 13, 2007 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

Maybe it has to do with having to lay there doing nothing. Pete has had to crawl in tanks and small spaces over the years at work, with no problems. But although he tried twice, he just couldn't tolerate it. Praying the results from this help you.

March 13, 2007 6:07 PM  
Blogger Sandy Carlson said...

Oh, I can relate to both the dread of the MRI and the migraine experience. Whenever I get a migraine, I suspect my body is conspiring to get my mind to take a vacation from the world. Being outnumbered 2:1 is pretty compelling. I hope you're okay.

March 14, 2007 8:04 AM  
Blogger Nelle said...

I applaud your ability to apply the relaxation techniques under those conditions. I was supposed to have an MRI and they put me inside the machine but I couldn't stay there for 20 minutes. I think I would have to be unconscious.
Hope the migraines go away, my son had them for years and suddenly his stopped for no apparent reason.

March 14, 2007 3:51 PM  

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