February 4, 2011

MRI: Mini Rave in Isolation

You hear a lot about MRIs and how confined and noisy they are. I think for these reasons a lot of people are frightened of them. I thought the whole thing was kind of fun because my MRI allowed me to relive a dance party atop an aircraft carrier and fire rockets at my tumour.

A MRI is essentially a mini-rave. The machine emits pulses of base that you can feel moving through every cell in your body; the straps keeping you in place on the bed shake. Your mouth is a little dry and vision a little bit blurry (side effects from the intestinal relaxant they inject in you). It is warm and you don't have a lot of personal space. The noise is electronic, ryhthmic and repetative. A fan blows cool air on your face.

The whole thing was similar to a dance party held atop a Russian aircracft carrier (complete with aircraft) moored off the coast of China that I went to last year. I spent half of the MRI dancing (in my head) to the noises emitted by the machine and this made the time fly (MRIs can last a while).

No more dancing, time to fight

What was I doing for the second half of the scan? The noises and sounds emitted by the MRI are also really similar to the sounds emitted by arcade machines made in the 1980s. I heard laser beams, machine gun fire, electromagnetic pulses and flame throwers. My imagination was also helped by the fact that an MRI looks like a time-machine or an object brought back from the future.

I was able to use the MRI sounds to fuel a quick session of healing imagery. Mediation and healing imagery are recommended by nearly every cancer support network under the sun. You can use your mind to boost immune activity and your body's natural anti-inflammatory response and this can strongly compliment orthodox medicine. Sounds wobby-wobby, but no modern oncologist would disagree.

So, I imagined myself in a space ship, jumped down my throat, blasted my way to the stomach, duodenum, through the jejunem and out the illeum into the colon. I slowed down when I got to the colon because I knew the tumour would be near by. Once within range I incorporated sounds from the MRI, warmed up the spaceship's lazer beams and began zapping tumour cells in their thousands. 

When the MRI shifted to a low pitched banging (imagine over and over again the sound a bowling ball makes when it hits the lane), I warmed up the electromagnetic pulse gun and started firing waves of natural killer cells at my tumour in time with the 'music'. 

When the MRI switched to a high pitched and faster beat, I imagined it was the siren on top of my spaceship alerting macrophages that it was time to clean up this tumour once and for all.

As the MRI was scanning my pelvis and looking for breaches of the colon wall, I was busy zapping away at my tumour and drawing mental attention to the area in a kind of call-to-arms for my immune system.

I started meditating the day after my diagnosis. Meditation is relaxing and aids the body's immune system, it also changes the way our brains are wired. The use of healing imagery in meditation helps someone with cancer feel more in control of their illness, and anything that reduces helplessness increases the chance of survival.

How I see my tumour under attack


  1. Very cool images! And I want an MRI now too.

  2. Nice description of how it actually feels like! I'm now volunteering at Purdue's vet clinic, oncology department.Hope I can learn more about your situation. We have a MRI machine too! The imaging is mind blowing!


  3. You're amazing. Can you come work with me? Next stop for Ben-> GYN.