THE streets outside are alive as I sit in an empty hospital waiting room.

It is like crossing over into another world again.   

I ease myself into a chair directly opposite a large door. It separates me from the MRI machine.

The noise is loud, and the words ‘Danger Strong Magnetic Field’ are impossible to miss. 

Above the noise of the machine a woman screams in pain.  

My mind creates a narrative of the lady and what she has gone through.

To be in that much pain is unusual in an MRI.

I am in pain too, but it’s a mental suffering, a fear that is so deep rooted no number of mental skills or coping mechanisms seem to help in this moment.  

As the lady appears from the mri room, we look into each other’s eyes.

She is the same age as me and it was a look that said ‘I got you’.

We both sit broken from this path that life has taken us on. 

Both fighting and appearing strong to the outside world, even at times inspirational, but in that moment, we shared the vulnerability of this journey. 

She said ‘this sucks’. I smiled and said ‘it sure, does my friend’.  

I walk into the room.

After 12 years of scans I am well drilled on what to do, yet the anxiety still takes over.

I am using humour as my coping strategy, I guess I am just trying to not process the magnitude of what this moment means.  

There is a moment where I think back to bring a child, unaware of the world, when all that mattered was playing with my mates. 

It was similar on this path - when I had no education on spinal cords or tumours, I would come in, get scanned and leave.  

I felt immortal. But then I was paralysed in one surgery. 

That moment changed everything for me.

For the first time I was made aware that I was mortal, and like everyone I to will die.  

I almost want to go back to when I had no knowledge of this medical world, before I read neuroscience books and spent hours studying the mind. 

The days where I was in flow states daily but had no idea what was going on.

I just knew I was loving life and felt so alive. My body moved and I loved pushing it every day. There was no pain.  

I have the head guard fitted, I then feel my canular going in and before I know it, I am inside the machine. 

I always go to box breathing here, 4 seconds in, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4 and so on. Calm the racing mind, lower anxiety and accept the process. 

Maybe even reflect on stoic philosophy or meditate through this.  

But within minutes my mind is running mad, I have no control over the thoughts, I bounce from focused breathing to my mind running wild.

I hear the voices of all my mentors, the podcasts I absorb daily and the books telling you to do this and that to flourish in life.  

But in all truth, when I lay here facing my death, none of that stuff seems to help. 

No amount of breathing or stoic philosophy is working. My mind is like a wild horse, and I am not in control. 

The machine vibrates through my body.

I feel like I am transcending my body, like I am looking at myself laying here. 

But 12 years of scans and it is now starting to break me.

I have thoughts of if I die there will be no more suffering. 

This thought was not me consciously thinking it, it came from deep in my subconscious. I didn’t want this thought to happen - it just appeared in my thoughts.  

Each of us is different, there is no right or wrong in this, there is just our way. 

I am not saying that these sources of knowledge don’t help, I think they are helping me, but if honest I am not completely sure if they do.

I know cycling helps as it’s my escape. I think studying psychology has helped me understand the why behind the feelings I have and then helped me to use techniques to help my anxiety. 

But there is no escape of the thoughts, the ones that I feel hold me prisoner of my tumour.  

I guess what I am feeling is the human experience, the human experience of my own mortality and life. 

This is just my experience from my last scan.

Every person will be different, but I just wanted to share my experience and how I perceived it.