Bone Biopsies Are Not As Fun As They Sound

by Sarah

Since I was up at 4 I needn’t have worried about setting the alarm.  I pulled into the parking garage and took one of the first spots since they’re allocated to cancer patients.  I can look forward to that for the rest of my life.

I got to keep most of my clothes on which was a switch.  The nurse started an IV and I asked her what she intended to put in it and she listed sedatives and painkillers.  I told her I didn’t want them and she recoiled slightly.  We chatted about why they give them and why I didn’t want them.  She left the IV in but no drugs.

Cindy showed up and hung with me until they took me back.  Once in the imaging room, I had another conversation with the techs about the fact that I wasn’t having the typical IV cocktail, only a local on the skin. They were a bit concerned since they were the ones that would have to deal with me if things went bad.  I got the impression things could go bad.  I crawled on the CT machine and they pulled my pants partway down and doused me with antiseptic.  She showed me a marker and said she was going to mark a spot where he was going to dig.  She then drew a line about 6 inches across the top of my glutes which prompted me to ask “what the hell is he planning to do to me?”  Guess he’d changed his mind about going in from the bottom, too, so-to-speak.  Probably for the best.

The doc came in and he was a big, friendly guy.  He asked me about my weekend and what I had planned.  When I answered, he realized I didn’t have any drugs in me.  He looked a little surprised and eyeballed the techs but didn’t say anything further.

I was on my stomach and looking to my left.  I could see the doc, all the techs who were watching us and the lady waiting for the sample.  He lined me up in the machine so he could see the particular cancer spot he was looking for on the screen and grabbed a tool that looked like it came out of Home Depot.  Large bore needle?  Looked like a nine inch nail with a handle on top to me.  He drove it into my left ilium and it felt like someone was jabbing me with a nail and then grinding it into the bone.  Oh right, he was.  He looked me in the eyes and said if I could handle that, I’d be OK for the rest of it.  I took that to mean the worst was over.  I was wrong.  He did the same thing three more times and then shifted his weight, got up on his toes and drove into my bone with even more force.  I could feel all of the grinding.  I could hear all of the grinding.  I could see faces as they watched me.  The lady came over for the sample and smiled at me and I politely smiled back as he was grinding away at one of my many cancerous bones.  He pulled the “needle” out of me and smeared the sample into the paper in her hands.

I had a continual blood pressure monitor on and I asked the tech if it went up as he dug.  She said it went down and that it ended with 97/48.  The nurse escorted me back to where I started. Troy had shown up, too, so he sat with me and we got caught up until they cut me loose.  We all decided we needed to have lunch on a patio to enjoy the beautiful day and the Fullers joined us. I kept an ice pack on my new orifice.  Instead of a limp, I now have a temporary wobble.

I expect the next three days to be void of doctors, tests, needles, scans, reports and hospitals and replaced with friends, family, bikes, fire pits, fireworks, laughter and maybe even some sleep.  Bring it on.