LPGA pro Nicole Jeray speaks about living with narcolepsy
A Tip From a Narcoleptic: Nap Through Your Next MRI
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Having an MRI scan can be very stressful. But with some knowledge and planning, I’ve found out it can actually be a great place to take a nap.
Into the Long, Narrow MRI Tube
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that uses a strong magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make highly detailed pictures of organs and structures inside the body. The “gold standard” of a diagnosis for multiple sclerosis (MS) is a series of MRI scans of the brain and spinal cord.
The traditional MRI machine requires placing the patient in a long, narrow tube. Although it is possible to have an MRI with an open machine, that is usually used only for scans of the lower extremities. For those of us suspected of having MS, we must use the traditional MRI because of the complexity of the brain and spinal cord.
Anxiety on Top of Anxiety
Let’s face it. We can become quite anxious when our physician orders a test to determine the cause of our neurological issues. After all, the list of fun diseases of the brain is really quite small.
Then we get hit with a second dose of reality. In order to get this test, we need to lie perfectly still inside a dark, small tube for an extended period of time. This can quickly go from bad to worse, as did for me during my first MRI.
RELATED: 10 Things Your Doctor Won't Tell You About MRI
A Lot Like Flying Coach
The rumors I heard 12 years ago about lying inside the tube were much worse than reality. Since then, technology has made the experience even more palatable. Sure, the tube is not huge. But if you can sit in coach on a long flight, you can get through this test.
One of the creature comforts of MRI comes from a continual stream of cool air circulating around you. Most testing centers offer satellite radio for your listening pleasure. Although you head gets its own special cradle, the cradle has an added feature to really ease any fears of claustrophobia. Attached to the cradle are a series of mirrors, providing a view outside the tube. During my last MRI, the room had very cleverly designed windows. It truly gave me the ability to see outside.
The Unexpected Benefits of Narcolepsy
Over the past decade I had so many MRI scans, due to living with MS and having back surgery, that I have lost count. During this same period, my narcolepsy with cataplexy has continued to become more intense. I take daily medication to help offset the tiredness of living with both these illnesses. During my last few MRI scans, I intentionally skipped my narcolepsy medication.
When sliding into the tube, I explained to the technician that I would be asleep within a minute and to please wake me when it's over. With a highly skeptical look on her face, she agreed and that was the last thing I remember until being roused from my sleep at the conclusion of the testing.
Video: Chantelle G. - The Narcoleptic Nap
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