Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit again soon.

Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Feeling Like A Prize Dawk!

Oh dear, oh dear! I am feeling rather silly this morning and, if I'm honest, a bit disappointed in myself. It's nothing to do with writing this time. Every now and then, for the past three years, I have to go and have an MRI scan. My last one was in Jan '08, and they (the docs) decided to leave me a year until the next on. Well, for some reason the scan booking was mislaid for Jan '09 and I had another appointment through for March.

The March appt was a complete disaster and so another one was booked for today. This too was a disaster, and one thing led to another and I couldn't go through with it. Anyone who has ever had an MRI scan that involves their head will know what I mean.

You will realise why I feel so silly when, for the benefit of those of you who've never had one, all an MRI scan involves is lying on a table and being slid into an enclosed tube, in my case up to my elbow level. There is a cage system that they place around your head to keep you still. There is a little mirror just above your eye line so you can see around the room and there is a camera and intercom system directly linked to the radiographers in the control room so they can see and hear you clearly at all times. They give you a buzzer to press if you need them or you can just speak and one of the radiographers will help you. Piece of cake, job's a good 'un.

Yet why, on two occassions now, have I been unable to go through with it? I've had to come out of the scanner crying and being sick! I'm a grown woman for heaven's sake! And prior to the last two occassions I've been in the scanner with no problems. It's puzzling and worrying me.

The logical part of the brain knows I have to have the scan done, it's for my own benefit. I worry about wasting the scanner tech's time and wasting NHS money. I could kick myself - in fact perhaps someone should kick me! The radiographer, a young lad who looks about 15, was ever so nice (I was even worried about him) having this wailing, shaking woman on his hands! But he said that some people don't even make it through the door - so I'm not doing too badly.

But then the childish and irrational part of my brain kicks in and it all goes haywire. I cannot get my head round why I can't do this. It's driving me crazy. After the last time, I even did some relaxation techniques and breathing exercises. I practised visualisation and lying down, still on the floor. I timed my visualisation for the exact time I'd be in the scanner (45 mins) The visualisation came in two parts as after 20 mins they slide me out of the scanner, give me a painless injection, and slide me back in again for 25 mins.

The MRI scan doesn't hurt. It's noisy, but there's no pain involved. My aversion to the scan is purely psychological and can be over come. The radiographer told me to see my GP and get a mild sedative. He has faith in my ability to have this scan, as he knows I've done it before, and can do it again. My husband's going to rig me up a fake scanner (cardboard box!) to practice lying under, and I'm going to try and see if an hypnotist can help me.

There's always a way round these panic attacks and phobias. It's all about fooling the brain into thinking it's somewhere else. I know no harm can possibly come to me in the scanner, but if I can get into a state of mind where I'm not really in the scanner, but at a book signing or literary festival giving a talk (?!) then I might just get myself through it.

I am calm again now and feeling fine (typical!) I'm drinking a large cup of tea, the weather's great, and I am well. My writing keeps me positive and makes me happy, I become absorbed in it and it takes my mind off the less pleasant aspects of life we all experience from time to time. But I will keep you posted on what happens at the next MRI scan. When I take the sedative I just hope I don't go too much the other way and start giggling uncontrollaby - or worse start stripping off, and a voice over the tannoy in the waiting area says ,"Would Mr Phillips please come to the MRI scanning suite and take control of your wife!"

You have to laugh or you'll cry!

Happy writing

Julie xx


Carole Anne Carr, member of the Society of Authors said...

I do think you are so very brave! How awful to have to go through this, I'm sure I would be the same. Would N.L.P. help? It's helped me in so many ways. Worth a try. Your husband sounds really great! Hugs...xxx

Julie P said...

Thanks, Carol, I'm willing to give anything a try. I do feel so much better now, though. I was just having a huge 'I feel sorry for me' moment earlier! Just got to get a grip and behave myself. The poor young radiologist might otherwise think I've developed a crush on him,the amount of times I've been up there to see him!! He is rather sweet - poor lad!

Do forgive my previous whinge everybody - mountain out of a mole hill.

Julie xx

Carole Anne Carr, member of the Society of Authors said...

No, you are not making a mountain out of a molehill, and despite the fact that you now feel you over-reacted, you spoke sincerely from the heart, that is why you are a good writer.

We must trust those feelings, see what they are telling us, not shut them out, and from an examination of those feelings, we can understand the root cause of our problems.

Forgive me if I am stating the obvious.

It is those feelings about life that I put in my little books, unless I can cry and laugh with my small characters, I know my book will fail.

If I can help in any way, just let me know. Much love, Carole xx

Nicola said...


Please stop being so hard on yourself!!! As someone who can't even sit in a doctor's waiting room without panicking (and as for having my blood pressure taken - well, I almost pass out!), I think you've been immensely brave even going to the appointment - let alone reliving it later when you come to write about it!

Can't you find a body double to send next time??!! (Sorry, hope you don't think I'm making light of what is obviously a serious procedure..).

Nicola xx

Julie P said...

Thanks, Carole and Nicola! I really do feel better now and have made an appointment with my GP (Says this very quietly so as not to frighten Nicola!) I am going down the relaxation/visualisation/sedation route and have promised myself that if I'm a good girl and stay in the scanner for the duration of the scan I can go to Wenlock books and buy something!

Nicola said...

With all due respect to Wenlock books, I have a better idea: Moleskine notebooks are '3 for 2' in Waterstones...

firstperson writer said...

Julie, I really feel for you...I really hope you get the help you need. Be strong girl..deep breath then face it head on. You can do it. We are all behind you.

Suzanne said...

Oh Julie, poor you. It sounds really scary.
But you're so brave and firstperson writer's right - you CAN do it and we are all behind you.

Julie P said...

Thanks everyone. I'm feeling really positive now and know that I can get in the scanner because I've been in before. I have an appointment with my GP next week and he will sort me out - he's as mad as a hatter so we get on really well!

Mmmm Moleskine notebooks 3 for 2 you say Nicola! I'm trying hard to resist!

Teresa Ashby said...

Julie, that sounds such an ordeal - I didn't realise you had to be in them so long. And what a sweetie you are to be so worried about the feelings of the young radiologist!!
Your husband's fake scanner sounds like a wonderful idea.
You can do it!

Julie P said...

Thank you, Teresa! It's so nice to have such good support from fellow boggers and my Wrekin Writers (they know who they are!) I've just had another appt through for an MRI scan in 4 weeks, so have plenty of time to get myself ready to go!

Fee said...

Dear Julie

Have you tried EFT or TFT? If not I have a contact for you to try. It really is helpful as I have overcome my fears of scans and biopsies using the techniques.

You are extremely brave to go through this. The first time you for a scan it is ignorance. The next time you know what is in store. The third time your mind is telling you that you are in an enclosed space which is not normal. This is why the more we go for certain tests the more we panic. It is human nature.

I am the same each time I venture through the hospital doors. I just don't want to be there anymore.

You are not alone in how you feel believe me.

Best wishes and good luck.