a woman calmly goes into an MRI machine

The First MRI After My Attack

Last updated: January 2023

I was referred for an MRI of my brain and neck after a little NMO scare in February of this year. I may have had a relapse. I experienced migraines, eye pain, and nerve pain in my back which radiated to my armpit and chest. It was present 24/7, and nothing seemed to relieve the pain.

I constantly had sleepless nights over it, which was hard as I was studying at the time and needed sleep to focus. My neurologist then told me that I had to stay on steroids for longer just in case it was a relapse. My neurologist decided to switch painkillers from Gabapentin to Amitriptyline, and after a week or so, things seemed to settle.

The first MRI scan for NMO

My initial MRI from my attack showed a high signal in my brain, in the right medulla, and multiple lesions in my whole spine. This was in September of last year. The attack caused a lot of damage and lasting symptoms that I still have today.

Preparing for my MRI

On the 27th of May, I went to the hospital for my MRI scan in the Neurology department. Things went quite smoothly. I just had to take out my piercings and make sure I had nothing metal on my body. I wore comfortable clothes, leggings, and an oversized t-shirt.

The scanxiety

I felt so uneasy. I did not want to see new lesions or the worsening of old lesions, but a few weeks went by, and I heard nothing from the doctor. This increased my anxiety, but I kept telling myself that eventually, I will find out the results - and they will be fine.

The results came back favorable!

Then nearly a month later, I received a letter from my neurologist. But, the day prior, I had an appointment at the NMO clinic. I could see my MRIs side by side to see the difference. I was so unbelievably happy as the high signal lesion in my brain was hardly present on the recent MRI, which meant the NMO treatments I was and am presently on are working and hopefully will work for the rest of my life.

The drugs are doing what they're meant to do

My neurologist and the NMO specialist I met the day prior both said they think Rituximab is working great and I should stay on this treatment. This is the strongest chemotherapy drug available for NMOSD in the United Kingdom. Other treatments, like Soliris, have not been approved yet, but hopefully will be in the future.

Feeling hopeful and more at ease

I am so pleased to see that the lesion in my brain has recovered amazingly, and it feels like my life is falling into place after such a challenging year. It feels like this news has brought me so much hope that I can recover properly and some of my symptoms can calm down in the future. However, with the symptoms I am living with now, they are nowhere near as painful as they were last year, which I am so grateful for. I just hope I continue to recover and have no relapses in the future!

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