I am a very sciencey person, especially as it pertains to topics like anatomy and physiology. I like facts and data and realistically related principles that can be backed up and proven true. I enjoy researching for my own sound understanding and exploring credible articles to broaden my growing cognitive archive of holistic material. Therefore, I typically trust and value reliable technology and repeated successful trials in the health field. Because of this nature, I sincerely believe that the initial lab results were accurate. I believe in the validity of the report which read that my liver enzymes and serum copper levels were deemed “abnormal,” and do believe that this also could have been simply due to underlying factors which may have been merely circumstantial. Regardless, I also believe that there was indeed perhaps a little miracle that happened here…
I received my own unique taste of hospital visits and procedures, and spent a lot of time anxiously waiting while my mind tried to figure out what was going on internally.
During this waiting window my faith was stretched and my patience tested. I was challenged to simply move on with life, carry out my daily duties and continue to focus on work as I knew it. Yet it was very difficult to ignore the murky cloud of the unknown floating above my head during this whole investigation process. I’m so used to being my body’s expert, and for some puzzling reason it was revolting against me. I tried my best to make the most out of the drawn-out course, attempting to really key in on my functional needs and feelings to continue striving to become one with myself. Our bodies are marvelous systems with all parts working together for the greater good of the whole, which is something that has always been intriguing to this curious exercise science nerd. I wanted to know every detail of every procedure, and the rationale behind every possibility at stake. It’s just how I’m wired, and frankly added to the suspense of this whole medical experience:
The MRI was somewhat unexpected. With very little communication from my doctor regarding previous test results, I questioned if I was really even meant to be there in the first place. After checking in with the receptionist in the radiology department who subtly asked if I was claustrophobic, (just in case I wasn’t nervous enough already,) I was quickly directed back to another dreaded tiny waiting room with changing stalls, where I was prompted to switch out my normal clothes for an extra baggy set of robe gowns and footies. I took a moment in the dressing room to compose myself, feeling a little rushed into a procedure I wasn’t exactly prepared to tackle so early in the morning. The itinerary specified an instruction to fast prior to the appointment, and I was beginning to feel light-headed from a combination of low blood sugar and anxiety. Breathing deeply, I attempted to text my parents what was about to happen and nervously gathered up my clothes and belongings to place into a locker. At least I got to pick my favorite number…locker #7. A little good luck can never hurt, right?
Before I could turn around a pretty nurse with a foreign accent summoned me along into a small room with an empty patient’s chair and several tubes and IV’s waiting by the armrest. “Hold on a minute,” I thought, “I don’t remember reading anything about sticks and needles…”
My mind was beginning to enter protection mode, and was once again forced into the surrender and bravery of the other parts of my body, which were silently bracing themselves for more pokes and prodding. The kind nurse attempted to explain the preparation protocol in lay person terms, until I finally politely informed her that she was preaching to an interested exercise science graduate. As I mentioned before, I am one to embrace any sort of of physiology knowledge. I want to know exactly what is going on in my body and why, especially when you plan to go about tinkering with items inside it.
Following a kidney function quick-check, an uncomfortable IV was placed into the one popping vein in my right arm, which would remain there for the remainder of the procedure. After an administering of glucagon, to “keep my tummy from gurgling” (according to the nurse), I was taken to the last tiny room of the day where the MRI machine held residency. Two new faces helped me get “comfortable” on the examination bed, yet did earn brownie points for (1) offering me an additional blanket for my freezing feet and (2) placing earbuds featuring Pandora radio around my head, before I was given a pep talk and slid backwards into the noisy spaceship of revealing secrets. I received an active role in following voice commands to breath deeply and hold my breath while the loud vibrations echoed all around my body, which at least made the time pass by more quickly.
Once I first glanced up at the white shield all around me though, I couldn’t help my brain from flashing back and forth to the hasty details of the morning. “How in the world did I even allow myself to get here?” I reflected, battling my conscience about any regretful past decisions. My mind raced back to my phone–(which nowadays has quickly evolved into somewhat of a security blanket)–all tucked away in the outside pocket of my purse, down the long hallway and locked away in my lucky #7 locker…the last screenshot with the unfinished text message to my parents, who I now wished had come with me. In that moment all I could think about was my precious family and friends who always have my back.
“I hope they know I love them…
I wish I hadn’t come alone…
…But I would have had to come back here alone regardless…
I should have asked her to turn on the contemporary worship station…
Don’t move…keep still…don’t breathe…breathe…”
My mind wandered all over the place, but surprisingly I was able to remain calm. There is a certain sense of mystical mind control and self-composure that I’m able to exert during situations of pain or traumatic circumstances, along with an unexplainable sacrifice of surrender. As I lay there strapped down in every which way, trapped in the sound-proof tube, I had no choice but to simply wait and obey. I was under the sole mercy of my anonymous technicians, and had hesitantly placed my complete trust in their convincing hands.
Encased in my hollow shell of uncertainty, no one could hear my cries. No one could feel the sharp stinging pain of the contrast dye making its way to my veins via the throbbing IV sticking out of my arm. Suddenly my whole right hand began convulsing after the shock of burning cold sensation radiating through my blood. I felt like Frankenstein being shocked back to life…simply a vessel being experimented on; just another number in the books. No one knew me for anything other than my name. They didn’t know my past, my tendencies, or my body. They didn’t know how much I strive to take care of my health. They didn’t know how I got there, what kind of car I drive, or that 7 is my favorite number.
For a split second I felt hopeless and alone, gazing down at the bulky pad tied to my abdomen over my ugly spotted hospital gown. But amidst my fears and feelings of lonely distance from those whom I love, I was reminded of the unshakable love that never leaves my side. Though I may have felt it within the shadows of vulnerability, I wasn’t alone–God was there holding my left hand. Always protecting me, and keeping me safe.
And so I waited. Waited through another series of breath holds and iron spears through my fingers, fighting the temptation to desperately claw myself out. It wasn’t that the entire experience itself was utterly miserable–it was really just your typical MRI. But it was an experience dictated by complete relinquishing of physical control with a conscious body awareness. I was aware of where I was and how I felt, keeping in tune to my tactical sensations while observing detail. But I had no idea what was about to happen next. I couldn’t move or talk or look ahead to anything beyond what was taking place inside my prevalent bubble. I could only deal with the here and now, though my brain jumped from past to present to future.
And so I waited. I simply waited, wondered, and obeyed. Parts of the wait were scary, and other parts painful. I hated the lack of preparation, knowledge, and incapability of voluntary movement. Yet as I lay there waiting for a sign of relief, my fears had somehow beat me to an escape.
I think sometimes it’s good to be strapped in our own personal waiting vessels, with absolutely no concept of time. Cut off from our self-made securities, only to remain solely reliant on the One who never leaves our side. In moments where we feel stuck, hopeless, or out of breath, our faith and inner strength is tested beyond normal limits. We are forced to focus on what’s in our immediate dormant dome, to be intuitive and believe in a brighter future outside of its walls. In these dwellings, as depressing as they may be, God can still find a way in. He’s right there holding tight onto your left hand, eagerly waiting to help pull you out.
Friday night at 8pm I received a phone call from my doctor. Imagining the worst, I reluctantly answered. The test numbers that were previously factually above the norm are now miraculously within normal boundaries. My eyesight is still 20/20. My blood pressure is still naturally low but in a healthy range. My MRI results were in, and read clear, healthy, and strong. And my liver is completely pure and fully functional, without a trace of fatty tissue or trauma. Hence, my perceived miracle. Gratefully God chose to grant some fervently faithful prayers, which turned out this time to be in my favor. But even if the results hadn’t been good, my God always is. I guess you could say that all these pesky trips and tests were for nothing, but I am now strictly loyal to the phrase: “better safe than sorry.”
While rejoicing in this news to jumpstart my weekend, my liver, though confused, now says he’s happy. And one thing this science gal knows for a fact: livers don’t lie.