Sunday, July 11, 2010

"If I only had a brain"

Welcome to the new followers since January. Glad you're here. So why is a children's bookseller suddenly talking about brains? If you missed them, here is another brain-related post and, oh yeah, another.

I'm a survivor of a ruptured brain aneurysm, which happened while I was on vacation in Maine in July 2005.

So it's been five years.

Tomorrow (Monday July 12) I'm having my five-year follow-up MRI/MRA. Am I nervous? Heck, yes. But I know it will be over in an hour and I'll go back to living my life, which means reading children's books and trying to write them. For now, though, I'm a brain aneurysm patient. Which brings me to...


What exactly is an MRI? The letters stand for Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

According to Wikipedia: "MRI provides much greater contrast between the different soft tissues of the body than computed tomography (CT) does, making it especially useful in neurological (brain) ... imaging. Unlike CT, MRI uses no ionizing radiation. Rather, it uses a powerful magnetic field to align the nuclear magnetization of (usually) hydrogen atoms in water in the body. Radio frequency (RF) fields are used to systematically alter the alignment of this magnetization." (You can read more about this here.)

Basically, an MRI takes pictures of your brain, to look for (in my case) any new aneurysms that may have cropped up. And to check on the old one, which has been filled with platinum coils to prevent it from re-rupturing.

So, since I'm lucky enough to be having both procedures, what the heck is an MRA?

MRA stands for Magnetic Resonance Angiography. It's essentially the same as an MRI with the addition of contrast material or dye. In other words, they'll stick my arm with a needle halfway through the procedure and administer gladiolinum. According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, this "creates a more enhanced image."

Then we'll find out if I actually have a brain. Or not.

Yes, I feel a bit like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. Okay, okay, I admit it. I'm reaching here, but I always find a children's book related to my topic.


So, fellow bookbrains, think of me as I go into the tunnel tomorrow morning!

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