Author Topic: MRI Options for Anxiety?  (Read 637 times)

CuriousTX

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MRI Options for Anxiety?
« on: August 23, 2022, 06:44:24 am »
After visiting my ENT yesterday and some panic Googling, I found this forum.  Very glad to find it, thanks for being here.  This is my first post. 

My background, I'm a musician of 35 years that didn't wear hearing protection at first.  My left ear faced the drummer and had repeated exposure to loud noises from that side.  Now (at 51) my left ear has a dip in hearing response in the 4-6khz range, but then returns and goes up to 11.2k.  That ear also feels slightly full all the time, more so during ear infections.  My last audiologist said that was likely due to the hearing loss. 

I am prone to ear infections in that ear and have scarring on my eardrum reported by everyone that looks in that ear.  Then the tinnitus.  I've had a high pitch (~6600hz) for 25+ years.  Recently in last few years, a new pitch has started @ 950hz, but it doesn't seem like either of those pitches are just in one ear, but rather both.  When I get an ear infection, it seems louder in the left ear until it clears.  No nausea, headaches, balance issues, facial numbness, etc.  Just fullness in left ear, repeated ear infections in that ear, slight dip at 4-6khz and mild tinnitus.

I recently had covid and in usual fashion with any cold-like illness, I immediately developed a left ear infection afterward.  That sent me to the ENT for meds.  They requested a hearing test, which didn't go well.  After this test, post an ear infection, my ENT is sending me to get an MRI to rule out a tumor.  After much Googling, assuming she meant AN.  Waiting to hear from the imaging folks to make an appointment.  That leads me to my question.

I've never had one, but my understanding of an MRI is that you lay in a very confined tube for 30 minutes or longer.

I've got a few issues that will likely make that impossible:

Fairly serious claustrophobia
Panic attacks
Low back issues that keep me from lying flat on my back for more than a minute or two
Sleep Apnea (which might negate having sedatives)
Fear of having dye injected

I'm wondering if there are options for imaging that negate those things.  I've heard of "open room" MRIs, but I don't know anything about them.  I've also heard that CT scans are another option. 

I thought I would check here to see if others have been in the same boat and found solutions.  Thanks.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2022, 07:02:14 am by CuriousTX »

Greece Lover

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Re: MRI Options for Anxiety?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2022, 10:28:26 am »
Sorry to hear of your situation.  I'm obviously not a Doctor, but here's what I've gleaned in the last few years:
You can "detect" a tumor with a CT scan, and those machines are much bigger and less fear inducing.  But, in the case of AN, I don't think they're super helpful and not always as conclusive.  There's a reason they schedule MRIs, which is because these tumors are often small and the placement and size helps determine course of treatment. 

Regarding the contrast, it is also required in order for them properly to see the tumor. 

The MRI is not fun.  Maybe your doctor could give you a valium for the procedure.  You do also have a mask over your face.  There are also some machines that are smaller than others. I've had them where my whole body was in.  I had a smaller machine once where really only my head an upper torso were in, and that felt much easier.

Good luck!
Vestibular Schwannoma 1.2 cm. Right side.
Middle fossa surgery at University of Iowa on May 9 2016.
Hearing saved.  Face is fine. Balance pretty darn good most days.
One year follow up MRI showed no tumor. 
Five year follow up showed no tumor, so I'm in the clear.

notaclone13

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Re: MRI Options for Anxiety?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2022, 12:38:11 pm »
I share some of your issues, including occasional anxiety attacks and lower back issues. I also get dizzy I when I lay flat. I am also get very nervous and airsick when I fly. For me taking a Dramamine 30 minutes before my mri helps tremendously. Make sure it’s the regular formula, not the non-drowsy (meclizine). Meclizine has never worked well for me. If you’ve never taken it before, you could try it before the mri just to make sure it agrees with you. It certainly calms my nerves. Make sure you tell the mri folks you’re the claustrophobic type. They will talk you through the process and check on you during the mri. It helps a lot.

alabamajane

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Re: MRI Options for Anxiety?
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2022, 01:09:22 pm »
I don’t like the MRI and am somewhat claustrophobic,, but as has been said, the MRI with contrast is the gold standard for diagnosing an AN 
The first time I had an MRI , I did ask for a Valium. It helped. As for your back, they will give you a pillow for under your knees. I to have lower back issues and this helps me.

One of the best suggestions I have is DO NOT look at the machine when you enter the room. I look down at the floor purposefully until I’m laying flat. Then I close my eyes and KEEP them closed the entire time. I have had them give me a cloth to put over them at first.  I don’t always have a full mask put over my face. But they will put pillows next to each side of your head usually. Earplugs. And I just recite calming words to myself and have even sung songs. Anything to distract myself.
The contrast is necessary also.

I have also been in different “ sizes” of machines. You might ask when they call to schedule you in the largest opening machine they have. I don’t have experience with the open MRI machine but you could definitely ask if that is an option. I don’t believe the CT scan is a viable option. But I’m not a doctor either,,,
Good luck to you! And maybe you won’t have an AN to deal with. We are here with very useful information though if you do have one 
Jane
translab Oct 27, 2011
facial nerve graft Oct 31,2011, eyelid weight removed Oct 2013, eye closes well

BAHA surgery Oct. 2014, activated Dec. 26

CuriousTX

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Re: MRI Options for Anxiety?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2022, 11:54:18 am »
Thanks for the info.  I'm a bit in denial about it. 

My main symptom is that I get an ear infection in that ear every 18 months or so.  Other than that, no advancing symptoms of note.

I asked my GP about it once and he said that tumor symptoms don't improve.  Once they start, they just progress.  Mine don't follow that pattern.

These are more representative of my issue.  The symptoms of an ear infection in adults are:

    Earache (either a sharp, sudden pain or a dull, continuous pain)
    A feeling of fullness in the ear.
    Muffled hearing.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2022, 11:56:41 am by CuriousTX »

robinb

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Re: MRI Options for Anxiety?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2022, 02:23:37 pm »
Hi-

I had the same concerns for getting an MRI due to a bad experience I had when I got one just for a torn ACL It was awful so the idea of doing with my head in the machine was terrifying. After some research I found something called "open sided MRI". The experience was so different and not at all claustrophobic. Hard enough staying still during it. My ent thought it might not be as easy to identify a small tumor but was no problem and no doc I sent my disc to said anything about the quality, So I have done probably 5 since I was diagnosed and treated. Wish you all the best whatever the outcome!
AN Diagnosed 11-2012 right side
13mm x 7.2 mm
Gamma Knife 1/24/13
UPMC w/Dr. Lunsford
Officially a postie toastie!
See my treatment journal at: http://www.anausa.org/smf/index.php?topic=18291.0

donjehle

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Re: MRI Options for Anxiety?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2022, 07:28:03 pm »
Hi CuriousTX,

I don't know if you ever had the MRI done?  The MRI is the best way to determine whether you have an acoustic neuroma or whether something else is causing your ear problems.  I used to work in a hospital, and they were able to work with many people who did not think they could have an MRI done.  Sometimes they gave them valium or some other medication (as Greece Lover said).  Or sometimes they actually put the patient asleep.  What you should do (if you haven't already) is to talk with your practitioner and tell him/her your issues.  They might find a way where the MRI could be done without causing you difficulty.  Then you would know whether you have an acoustic neuroma.  It is very difficult to know this by the symptoms alone.
Burning Tongue, Loss of Hearing & Balance, and Tinnitus led to MRI. Very small AN found on 11/23/2021
While watching and waiting, lost significant hearing. WRS now at 12% (down from 100%). Was fitted with CROS system on 3/7/22.  Stable MRI on 7/29/22
No treatment yet.

CuriousTX

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Re: MRI Options for Anxiety?
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2022, 12:57:22 pm »
Hi-

I had the same concerns for getting an MRI due to a bad experience I had when I got one just for a torn ACL It was awful so the idea of doing with my head in the machine was terrifying. After some research I found something called "open sided MRI". The experience was so different and not at all claustrophobic. Hard enough staying still during it. My ent thought it might not be as easy to identify a small tumor but was no problem and no doc I sent my disc to said anything about the quality, So I have done probably 5 since I was diagnosed and treated. Wish you all the best whatever the outcome!

Thanks for this info!  I'll look around for one.  Do you do yours with contrast?  Or without?   In the open MRI?

robinb

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Re: MRI Options for Anxiety?
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2022, 08:16:58 am »
Always with contrast.
AN Diagnosed 11-2012 right side
13mm x 7.2 mm
Gamma Knife 1/24/13
UPMC w/Dr. Lunsford
Officially a postie toastie!
See my treatment journal at: http://www.anausa.org/smf/index.php?topic=18291.0

 


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