Bananas For Bananas

I know, I know – I was going to be better at doing. I could go into the details of why the delay, and maybe I will at some point soon but in the meantime I want to talk bananas. I’m kinda bananas for bananas! Not just because they’re delicious but they are just so amazingly good for you. They’re full of the amino acid tryptophan which gets converted into serotonin in our brains which helps us feel good as well as sleep better. They’re really high in potassium which is great for easing aching muscles and lowering blood pressure. So seriously, what’s not to like!? For a long time they have been one of the main components in my favourite breakfast – sunshine porridge – but now there is a rival for that number one breakfast slot.

A Danish friend of mine told me about Banana Pancakes and I’ve been playing around with them ever since. The basic recipe of just a couple of eggs and a mashed up banana is great but I wanted to make them a bit fluffier, a bit more substantial. Too much baking powder was giving them a slightly bitter after taste and adding too many ingredients to the mixture before cooking made it too dry. Adding just a small amount of buckwheat flour and hey presto – I got the result I was looking for 🙂

1 medium or large banana

2 eggs (or egg substitute)

10g buckwheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp cinnamon 

Coconut oil spray

(Optional topping: Cinnamon (you can never have too much right!?), grated vanilla, raisins, dried blueberries / cranberries, dedicated coconut…)

  1. Lightly beat eggs in a jug and then combine all the ingredients except the banana until you have a smooth mixture.
  2. Mash up the banana until it resembles a purée and then stir it into the mixture. 
  3. Spray a small frying pan with coconut oil and heat for a minute or two. 
  4. Using a dessert spoon add 2 to 3 spoonfuls of the mixture to the pan to make a small pancake. Sprinkle a topping of your choice into the top of the pancake – my favourites are cinnamon, grated vanilla or pumpkin spice mix. 
  5. After a couple of minutes some bubbles should have appeared around the edges which should look a little more solid. Use a spatula to flip the pancake over and cook it for another minute or two. 
  6. Repeat this until you have used all the mixture – it should make between 5 and 7 small pancakes. I usually keep mine warm in the oven on a low temperature (120) until I’ve made them all. You could add syrup on top but I find them sweet enough.





For a number of years I didn’t eat meat, just fish. I decided pretty young, probably 11 or 12 that I didn’t really like the taste or the thought of what meat was. I didn’t like to see or smell raw meat and for quite sometime I was a pain for family and friends. Then I went off to University and found that I probably ate better than most of the people I lived with. I was pretty good at making vegetarian food with the help of my trusty vegetarian recipe book (which I still have amongst my collection nearly twenty years later!). I also found that it was a good inspiration for my art. At the time there were lots of news stories about children not understanding where their food came from; not knowing what a chicken or a pig looked like – can you imagine? I didn’t want to tell people that they shouldn’t eat meat but I did think they should know what it was before it gets wrapped in cellophane and put in a freezer. They should know how the animal they are about to eat has lived its life and how it’s been killed.

Then at some point in my twenties, fuelled by alcohol ( isn’t it always) I decided that at 3am there was nothing I wanted more than a chicken korma. So that was it – my pescetarian ways ended and I became a meat eater. I was a fussy meat eater – the thought and smell of bacon always troubled me and don’t get me started on trying to combine chicken with pasta! Overtime I learnt to cook the Great British tradition of meat and two veg along with meat curries and stir fries – tongue firmly pressed to the roof of my mouth trying not to smell what I was handling. Meat became a key component in nearly every evening meal (and sometimes lunches too) that me and ‘the husband’ (a lapsed vegetarian) ate. It seemed to be taking over and in doing so it was leeching away all the enjoyment I used to get from cooking – I just didn’t realise it at the time.

When I was first diagnosed with MS I read about some of the different recommended diets that may (or may not) help. None clinically proven, well not in my mind anyway, but they were enough to give me food for thought (see what I did there? my little play on words… ). A Mediterranean diet was the obvious one being recommended; oily fish, lean meat, plenty of fresh veg. There were a couple of others two though, ones encouraging a ‘cleaner’ way of eating. Throwing those processed meals in the back of the freezer away (we never really bought them anyway) and making everything fresh so that all those E numbers and long chemical names become a thing of the past. Another recommendation was cutting out meat and dairy too, eating a diet full of fresh veg, pulses, lentils and fish. Sort of my old diet, only healthier. That was 2013 and though the change wasn’t a drastic one – one I don’t think I even realised I made at the time – I started to cut down on the amount of meat I cooked.

By the beginning of 2015 maybe just two or three evening meals a week included meat. I was feeling healthier because of it. People seemed confused that we could have an evening meal that didn’t include meat but it was so easy. It started to occur to me then that I really would like to cut out meat altogether but could it work – one pescatarian and one meat eater that didn’t like fish? I wasn’t thinking of it from just an MS / health thing anymore either. Maybe it was all the yoga, but I felt more in tune with myself and dare I say it the world around me. Passing animals in the fields near where we live made it increasingly difficult for me to be prepared to eat them when I got home.

In the end it was easy. The husband and I went to dinner with six friends – four meat eaters, a pescetarian and a vegan. I ordered off the veggie/vegan menu as nothing ‘meat’ appealed to me and actually that menu was a lot more interesting. The husband went for meat but said after he’d had ‘food envy’ when he saw our none-meat choices. We spoke on the way home about how impressed we were with our friends commitment to being vegan – it can’t always have been easy. We also spoke about our love of animals – this is around the time that Cecil the lion was shot and other similarly horrifying stories were coming to the forefront of the news. The following morning I was practicing yoga, once again thinking about the change I wanted to make – in fact it was all I’d thought about since getting home the evening before. ‘The husband’ appeared just as I was rolling up my mat – a little dishevelled after a night of indigestion affecting his sleep, a side affect of his meat consumption. ‘I’ve been thinking’ he told me, ‘I want to give up eating meat’.

So there you have it – six months ago we gave up eating meat and I feel the best I have felt for a number of years. I love cooking again, I love the freedom it’s opened up to me since meat and two veg became a thing of the past. My kitchen is one of my favourite places, it’s a place of fun where I make weird and sometimes wonderful (sometimes not so wonderful) creations. I won’t be making any New Year resolutions today – I’ve already made the big change I wanted to make and I don’t believe in waiting until January 1st to make a changes. If you want to make a change, whatever it is, just do it – we did and we have no regrets.

An Intermission

 I’d never really intended to stay away from my blog for this long – 454 days apparently. I had a plan you see. I wasn’t going to search for things to write about so much because I didn’t want it to become forced. I also didn’t want to to take over my life, becoming a chore, something I felt I had to do. I was going to write at every infusion – in the four weeks in between each one I’d inevitably be inspired to write about something. I was right to, I was inspired – but the writing just didn’t happen. Something happened at my infusions that I hadn’t considered – I made friends with people! The three of us there, hooked up to our drips have formed our own little social club that has become an important part of my life. We understand to a certain degree how one another feels, what it’s like to have this peculiar disease. We remind each other too that it is just a part of who we are as people, we make each other laugh, share stories and support one another. To write didn’t enter my head – or if it did it was just a fleeting thought. But I’ve had a niggling feeling for the last month or two, an urge to start blogging again. Let’s see how long my good intentions last this time…!

Image may be subject to copyright.

Little Miss Not Quite As Positive As I Normally Am But I’m Sure I’ll Get Over It!

Today is the husbands birthday. Today should be all about him. We should have gone out somewhere for the day – his choice, then either out for a meal tonight or a home cooked meal by me – whichever he’d prefer. Today’s the day when he should get to do whatever he wants, no housework for him – we’ve taken time off work after all. However…

Today is Tysabri infusion no. 6 which means any plans we might have had for the husbands birthday have been scuppered. It’s a reminder that my MS doesn’t just effect me but my loved ones too. While I cheerily chat to the MS Nurses & my fellow Infusioneers (I thought we deserved a cool name) the husband on his birthday gets to wait around a hospital for me, maybe go for a coffee in the canteen. Tonight I will feel exhausted so the husband has to do any bits of housework I didn’t finish this morning and sort out food – a takeaway, it is his birthday after all.

Today is one of those MS days that suck. Anyone whose read this blog knows I’m on the whole annoyingly positive but just occasionally I have to admit that having MS sucks. It’s not the impact on me, I just get on with that for the most part but it’s the impact it has on everyone else who occasionally have to play second fiddle to my defective immune system that really gets on my nerves.

The husband of course says he doesn’t care. That once you’ve turned 30 birthdays aren’t important unless they end with a 0. He also says that keeping me well is more important than his birthday and I know that’s true but it doesn’t stop me from feeling bad.

On a positive note (or two) because there always has to be one with me – I’ve worked out, unless they change my appointment day, the husbands birthday isn’t likely to fall on my infusion day for at least 11 years. We won’t talk about Christmas because that’s a whole other blog! Positive note number two – the drug seems to be working. During my strength tests with my consultant last month I beat him in our equivalent of an arm wrestling competition – yay me.

So even when I’m writing a not so positive post I can’t help but find a couple of positives. Because at the end of the day being negative doesn’t get me anywhere. And for some reason being here, chatting, laughing even – it makes it okay to not be quite so positive. A normal level of positive maybe…

Positive note no. 3 – I’ve written another blog post.

Sticks and (Mile)stones

I can’t believe it’s been four months since my last post. As the saying going ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ aka landscaping your garden, running a part time jewellery making business as well as working full time, going on holiday and the list goes on. I’m not complaining about being so busy – it’s great being able to be so busy.

I’ve intending to blog numerous times – I even had a list of ideas on my fridge. Interesting articles in Women’s Health Magazine that were relevant to my MS featured heavily and of course my milestone. In June I had gone a year without a relapse. But I’m easily distracted! I’ve concluded that I need to be trapped to post! Trapped may be an exaggeration but sitting in a hospital chair hooked up to my four weekly Tysabri infusion makes it difficult for me to do other things. Which is why I’m writing this now though intermittent WiFi means it probably won’t be posted until later.

I don’t really have any thoughts on my one year milestone now. I’m not sure what I expected to feel – it just kind of past me by. I think my real milestone was ten days ago at Reading Festival when I realised how far I had come in a year. I had gone to Reading Festival in 2013 still accepting that I wasn’t as physically able as I used to be, seeing myself as different from other people. Determined initially not to use the stick which I’d bought specially, not to go on any viewing platforms. That weekend helped to change me – helped me realise that ‘I wasn’t giving in’ if I used those things – I was adapting.

A year on, unfolding my stick, I have no problem with using it. I know that on an uneven grassy field wearing boots (having lived in flip flops for months) I’m going to struggle to balance due to the feeling in my feet. I also know that sometimes I’m going to need to sit down, that I won’t always have the strength to get pushed around in a crowded tent, besides the views from the platforms are awesome. Because I don’t want to miss any of it, I want to be there all day every day. No longer scared of using my stick it amazed me how many other people I saw with walking aids including lots of people far younger than me. I never was different – I just hadn’t been able to see it last year.

If you look at it the other way (and I know it tends to sound cliched) we are all different. Most of the time you can’t tell I have MS by looking at me – my illnesses is hidden away. Just like my friends with stomach conditions, auto-immune conditions, anxiety disorders, depression and a husband with Bipolar Disorder. It’s easy to build up to a milestone but actually I think the milestones let you know when you’ve reached them like they did me at Reading.

Listening to my favourite band of the festival play I thought about my life with MS and just life in general. I know why I’m so easily distracted, why I’m busier now than I’ve ever been – it’s because I know right now I’m probably feeling better than I have for six years. I also know that there is no cure (at the moment) for my MS, but I’m managing it the best that I can so I want to make the most of being able to do things when I feel well. One of my favourite books, the journals of Dan Eldon is called ‘The Journey is the Destination’. Though tragically killed at a young age they show just how much he ‘lived’. Though ultimately sad his is an inspiring story. I don’t want to be someone just waiting on a cure, afraid to do the things I want to do.

I’m learning to know my body well enough now to know what I can and cannot do. Four songs into the Augustines set, I can see that I’m not going to get pushed around as long as I don’t go too near the front. I make my way into the crowd, stick in hand and get lost in the music – just like everyone else around me.

Me and my stick with Billy and Eric from Augustines

P Is For…

I recently said farewell to Arnie, my trusty injection device that has served me well since January. Ironically the week after I started injecting Rebif I went for an MRI scan which made me eligible to have Tysabri infusions (it’s also known as Natalizumab but seriously, as someone with MS and occasional speech issues how am I meant to say that!?). I’ve had no problems with Rebif but I felt Tysabri was the right choice for me – it’s chances of stopping relapses being over 65% compared with 33% (it’s all about those numbers again!).

The thing is, when I made the decision (which literally took me about 10 minutes – I’m very decisive when it comes to these things) I didn’t take into account, or rather I conveniently put to the back of my mind the following:

– Hospitals kinda creep me out – I will now have to spend 2 to 4 hours in one every 4 weeks;
– Needles – now I know I’ve been injecting since January but the Arnie has done all the hard stuff and it was not into a vein; and
– Blood (this is the biggest issue) – the sight of blood, particularly my own and even the smallest of quantities has the tendency to leave me either sat with my head between my legs trying not to throw up or lying on the floor unconscious.

So last Wednesday, as I sat patiently waiting to be called, the things that were at the back of my mind came to the fore and I became a little nervous. Knowing that I would have to have not just 1, but 2 cannula’s inserted, 1 to administer the drug and the other ‘just in case’! The ‘just in case’ cannula being for allergic reactions to the infusion – statistically unlikely to occur but if I’m going to go into anaphylactic shock it’s most likely to occur during the first 2 infusions. I wasn’t actually that concerned about that; I just didn’t want to look like an idiot by passing out in front of a room full of people. For some reason, when I pictured the room (which I’d never actually seen) I couldn’t help picture it with blood – not copious amounts but enough that it would always be in my field of vision.

As it turns out, unsurprisingly, there was no blood visible. Having the cannula’s inserted was no different to the sharp scratch of a blood test but without the sense of having my life force drained away after! And I could look at them after without feeing ill. Once I’d finished taking photographs (I mean who doesn’t want a few photo’s to remember such an occasion by) I lay back with my book and relaxed. Time went surprisingly fast, for the first hour I’m hooked up to the Tysabri, that’s followed by a 15 minute flush and then I’m unhooked for an hours observation during which time my Neurologist does a few tests (sticking pins in me to check my reactions – you know, the usual!). It was easy. Well almost.

Of course I have missed telling you about a vital part of my first infusion, the part I was least concerned about, wrongly. To ensure that the drug is doing its job and not messing with my brain I will have to undergo regular cognitive testing which looks at Memory, Attention and Concentration, Information Processing, Visual Perception and Constructional Abilities and Verbal Fluency aka word-finding. In someways it was kind of fun but at the same time really quite hard. I was pretty pleased with my score of 96 out of 100, my visual perception tests were particular good and my memory was way better than I expected – I can still remember the name and address of a fictional woman and 3 unrelated words.

It was always going to be the verbal fluency that would trip me up. Even that was going quite well. Then I was told I would have a minute to say as many words as possible beginning with a letter and they couldn’t be names of either people or places. I was given the letter P, a good letter you would think, there’s lots of words that begin with P aren’t there? The Oxford English Dictionary contains in total over 170,000 words so it stands to reason that there are lots of words I could have said… I feebly manage to get out words like pillow and party but there is a word lurking, desperate to be spoken. Surely there are other words I could say but my mind is going blank. I haven’t got a choice – I have to say it. My final score for that test is rubbish, only 11 words in a minute but I’d like to think from the smirk on the nurses face that my answer of ‘penis’ amused her.


A Year Ago Today

A year ago today I took a phone call from my Doctor who told me the news I had been expecting. I took it well, relieved that I at last new what was wrong with me. But then I had to break the news to other people.

A year ago today I cried because I had MS. Well actually I cried because I had to tell other people I had MS. I cried telling my husband, my parents, my friend Alison and my boss. I cried a bit more telling my cats Indiana and Amity who looked at me like I was stupid. So I stopped crying and I’ve not cried because I have MS since.

A year ago today I began my research (from trusted sites only!) and decided which Disease Modifying Drug I wanted to take (Avonex). I changed my mind a couple of months later and went with Rebif – a girls allowed to change her mind!

A year ago today I decided to change my diet to include fish, fish and more fish. I also decided I should behave more like a fish and start swimming again after years away from the pool (the yoga addiction came later).

A year ago today, after a bit of a cry and a lot of reading about my illness I took a walk on the beach at Southerndown with my husband. Actually it was more of a limping, stumbling hobble as my legs and feet were still numb and tingly at that time. We sat on the rocks and sent messages to all our friends and family that still didn’t know and watched the sun set. Then we went for pizza.

A year on and I still have the tingling in my feet but the the numbness in my legs (and arm thanks to a different relapse) is just an occasional thing. The weird pressure headaches and the funny shaky / blurry vision rears it’s ugly head every now and then but I know what it is now and so it doesn’t really bother me.

A year on and in many ways my life isn’t so different. I’m back doing the same job full time. I still have a great family and group of friends. I still have a brilliant supportive husband who doesn’t mind that sometimes my sentences don’t make sense. I still have two deranged fur-balls running round my house.

A year on and while my ‘fitness’ isn’t what it was I am ‘healthier’ than I have ever been. Turns out there is a difference. Goodbye circuits and running machine hello yoga and a Saturday morning dip. I listen to my body now. I know when I need to stop, when I need to get a little extra sleep; but I also know when I need to do something to give myself a bit more energy – amazing what a few minutes of exercise can do. I know how important it is to look after myself.

A year on and I think I appreciate life more than I did before. I don’t waste time on exercise I don’t really get anything out of or books/TV series’ I don’t enjoy. I started making jewellery to improve the dexterity in my right hand and that’s turned into a part-time business that I love.

A year on and I’m busier than I have ever been. I like to keep as busy as I’m able to whether it’s spending time with friends or just reading a book. I like it that way, keeping my mind active (or maybe it’s distracted!) because I don’t want to dwell on things – the negative or the unknown. I don’t want to let my MS take over more than one segment of the trivial pursuits piece that is my life.

So a year to the day since I was diagnosed (the irony that it was MS week is not lost on me!) I am grateful because it’s been so much better finally knowing what’s wrong with me and being able to get the treatment I need. On this, my diagnosiversary I shall again watch a sun set and eat pizza and then see what another year with MS brings my way.


Hasta La Vista Arnie

It’s not all that long ago that Arnie (my RebiSmart injecting device) came into my life. Now only a month and a half on I feel that our time is coming to an end. We may have a month or two left but I wouldn’t have thought much longer. It saddens me because Arnie has slotted into my life so well. He doesn’t cause me too many headaches (literally) and he comes in gorgeous teal packaging – one of my favourite colours. I find myself saying that classic line – “It’s not you, it’s me”…

It turns out that really is the case. Although I’ve had no problems at all with Rebif or injecting I went for an MRI with dye the week after I started it and now the results are in. The results aren’t really a big surprise to be honest, I knew the scan was bound to show a new lesion because I had a relapse the end of May 2013, a couple of months after my previous MRI. It wasn’t a big relapse compared with the one I’d had in April, in fact it took me a while to realise that’s what it was in comparison – I just put it down to sun burn. So the question was always going to be ‘what will the contrasting dye show up?’.

I had an appointment with my MS nurse last Thursday, it was meant to be just a chat about how the injections were going and blood tests but it turned out that wasn’t the case. I hadn’t had the results of my MRI – I was still waiting for the letter from my Consultant. Still, when my nurse asked how I was and said “we’ve got lots to talk about” I didn’t click. I thought he just had lots of questions to ask me or he was insinuating that I talk a lot! So after I wittered on about how great I’d been feeling and shown him a faint red post injection mark on my arm I felt noticed he was staring at me and nodding slowly as if to say “…and?”. I wracked my brain for what he might be expecting and then it occurs to me I still haven’t had my MRI results (I’d kind of forgotten about them – weird?). “Oh, you haven’t? I assumed you had got the letter” (ironically it arrived the morning after). “Nooooooo” I reply and from the slightly awkward look and shuffling of papers I know what’s coming.

As expected there was an additional lesion but also one that enhances with contrast meaning my MS is still active. On one hand I was surprised because I have been feeling particularly good since Christmas. On the other hand, prior to that I was convinced it would show that I was active so it wasn’t really surprising. Plus, I know that you don’t have to be having symptoms or relapses to have an active lesion. So we had a chat about Tysabri again and the fact that I’m negative for the JC virus, the how’s and the when’s and the percentages. I’m told that a letter will be winging its way to me with the date of an appointment with my Consultant to discuss it further and that I don’t have to make a decision there and then. In my head I’ve already made the decision, actually I’d made it over three months ago depending on my blood test and MRI.

While waiting for my blood test my nurse brings me a copy of the letters I hadn’t yet received. I ask him what I should do once I’ve made my decision and he tells me nothing until I’ve seen my Consultant again, just keep taking Rebif. I tell him that’s not a problem, it’s just I know what my decision is. “I thought you might” he tells me with a smirk. “It’s all about the numbers isn’t it?” I tell him.

It really isn’t Arnie’s fault, only now I’m eligible for the best available treatment for reducing relapses. Whilst I don’t want to have signs of active MS I do want to be able to access the best possible medication so there’s only one thing for it – it’s hasta la vista Arnie.

Photograph used courtesy of Georges Biard via Wikipedia

Have I Got The Job!?

I’ve developed an injection routine pretty quickly since starting Rebif. I’ve chosen Sundays, Tuesdays & Thursdays rather than the normal Monday, Wednesday and Friday that was suggested as I thought I’m more likely to ‘do stuff’ on Friday and Saturday nights. Of course since then I’ve realised I’ve got tickets to gigs two weeks running on a Thursday – typical! I’ve worked out the times that work best for me and my post injection fuzzy head. My Sunday night injection is just before eight o’clock and then Tuesdays and Thursdays are between eight and nine o’clock – except when I have a Thursday night gig!.

I always have a shower first so I feel nice and clean and being relaxed probably helps. I keep my RebiSmart, needles, bin and diary in the spare bedroom away from the cats – the last think I want is my devise getting clogged up with Indiana’s hair or Amity batting needle capsules about the landing. With music playing in the background – this week it’s Of Monsters and Men – I lay everything out on the bed ready, switch Arnie (the name I’ve given my RebiSmart) on and go through the process of injecting.

Some nights, normally when I realise I’m injecting in an area that hurt the last time my inner teenager comes out. Just for a minute or two and in my head only I start to pout – but I don’t want too, it’s going to hurt, humph, do I have too? Stomp. Of course I could just inject in a different area but I have decided on an order now; left leg, left stomach, left buttock, left arm, right arm, right stomach, right buttock, right leg – I like that it’s circular. I tend to think of myself as being organised when it comes to these things or as ‘the husband’ described me to my nurse – obsessive. So I refuse to stray from my order unless I really have to and my inner teenager isn’t a reason – she slams the door on her way out and little miss positive returns. Inevitably the injection (left arm) was fine on Tuesday. In fact it scored a 4 in my diary for least painful, last time it was a 1 for most painful – a cm or two lower makes all the difference it seems.

Injection done, cap replaced, I press the needle release button, click the needle cap off, check the needle is removed and drop it in my needle bin. It’s all done and dusted in just a minute or two. Normally at this point I switch Arnie off but Tuesday night was special, on Tuesday something different happened. Arnie showed me a picture of my capsule on the screen – it had turned red. Arnie told me that I was to remove the capsule, that my Titration period was over and that I should insert a new capsule (stored in my fridge next to a bottle of skimmed milk, a bag of rocket and a bar of dark chocolate – not sure what that says about me!?). I suddenly felt elated, I called out to ‘the husband’ who was tinkering on the computer next door to come see! I felt as if I’d passed some sort of test or like it was a job and I had just passed my probation period!

The four weeks have flown buy and already it feels like the norm when my alarm plays Monster by The Automatic (this amuses me – my MS is my little MonSter). People have asked me how long I’m going to inject for and the answer to that of course is ‘how long is a piece of string?’ – if it works for me then I see no reason to stop until a better option comes along. The same people tend to also ask me if I can feel the difference and I have to explain that isn’t how it works – it’s about reducing relapses, not curing me of my tingly feet. Titration period done, I start the maximum dosage tonight – but only after I’ve enjoyed an evening with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls.


The Trevinator Strikes Again

Last week I went for an MRI with dye. This was partly because my MS had been pretty active between October 2012 and May 2013 having had three relapses. At least two of these were considered by my Consultant to be ‘disabling’ as I’m still feeling some impact from them. This means that Tysabri, a second line treatment may be an option for me. I’ve already had the blood test to check for the JC virus (has the potential to cause some nasty side effects if your on Tysabri) and the nice people in Denmark who my blood was sent to have advised that I’m negative. This makes the decision much easier should it be an option and that all depends on the results of last weeks MRI.

I’m good with MRI’s – I have no issues with claustrophobia or the noise. I’m one of those annoying people who has the ability to sleep through pretty much all of the process despite the fact it sounds like people are throwing hammers at the tube and drilling next to my head. The first five minutes are always the worst when all of a sudden my mouth goes dry and I have a desperate urge to cough. The strain of not moving normally causes my eyes to water and I’m sure the nurse/radiologist then thinks I am crying as there always seems to be a lot of arm rubbing and ‘didn’t you do well!’ while all I can think is ‘did i?’ as I’ve slept through most of the process.

Last week was different for me as I’d never had a scan with dye before. At what should have been half way through the process I was taken out of the scanner so that I could have dye injected into a vein in my inner arm. Still in the padded contraption that stops you being able to move your head I patiently waited the five minutes or so before they could commence the second set of scans. Once back inside I’m told it will take around twenty minutes and I immediately go back to sleep. It isn’t a deep sleep of course, I’m always vaguely aware of a voice telling me when the next scan is being performed. This time the machine seems quieter though and at the end of the first scan the machine is silent as is the voice from the control room. This doesn’t bother me, I continue to doze. Eventually a voice advises me that there is a problem with the machine and they are going to have to remove me while it is restarted.

Eventually the MRI is fixed, ‘the husband’ who is patiently waiting outside for me has been informed that there is a problem and calculates that it was probably down for around twenty minutes. I’m not sure to be honest as I slept through this, – it’s not as if you can read a magazine easily with your head encased in weird pads! I tell the nurse not to worry who apologises profusely when were finally done. I tell her that something similar happened at my last MRI in a different hospital. “It’s you” she says “you’re a jinx!”, we laugh, ‘the husband’ agrees and line of people waiting scowl in my direction.

At my previous MRI I hadn’t even got into the machine before things went wrong. I was on the bed, earplugs in and head encased about to head into the big metal tube when the lights dim to a low level, the whirring of machinery stops and all is silent except for the panicky voice of the nurse. IT people are called and I return to the waiting area grateful that I had worn my planned MRI outfit (no metal) and am not sat in a hospital gown with my jeans neatly folded on my lap like the man next to me. Fifteen minutes later a switch has been thrown and we’re back up and running – apparently fuses are as easy to blow with these things as they are by having too many of your kitchen appliances on at once. But what if it isn’t an IT problem or a blown fuse? Remember when I said I used to think the tingling in my hand could be the beginnings of a super power forming (I Am Lightning Girl) ? What if I am in fact something else entirely? An evil mastermind without the mastermind bit or perhaps a human/robot sent back from the future. I could be the Trevinator – Destroyer of MRIs…

Image used courtesy of WolfWings via Wikipedia