biopsy

Having a Biopsy

Posted on September 14, 2009 at 8:10 am

I’ve been managing to not worry too much about the biopsy, which was scheduled for several weeks after my second mammogram. But the night before it all hit me pretty hard and I was (for me) very upset. I managed it by having a very good workout (30 mins of cardio and strength training combined), a hot shower, a couple of videos, a glass of wine, and a very good book.

I got a pretty good nights’ sleep and had a light breakfast before I left. I considered skipping breakfast, but realized that I’d probably get VERY shaky if I let my blood sugar drop too much. So, toast, ricotta and jam it was.

NOTE: I’ll be pretty blunt and graphic in this next part, so if you will feel like a voyeur, or get queasy at medical procedures, do NOT read any further.

ok. you were warned. no squeamishness.

The technician and radiologist were very explanatory and thorough. They went through the whole procedure with me before they started, and did a good job of talking throughout so I wasn’t surprised by anything (mostly, but I’ll get to that). Basically, my breast was washed with a chemical to clean the skin of biologicals and a mark made on the surface to indicate where (below the surface) the nodule was located. They verified this with the ultrasound. (Yes, I did for a moment hope that it had disappeared in the interim weeks.)

They then insert a very small needle (they warned me it would feel like a bee sting) and inject that area of the breast with lidocaine to numb it thoroughly. After its numbed out, they insert a larger needle with a kind of suction tube on the end of it. That tube goes right to the nodule and — with a “snap” like an electric stapler — sucks a tube of material right out of it. They collect 3-5 of these samples.

We had a funny moment when I explained that I hoped it wasn’t really like a bee sting — I’m allergic to them. In truth, it was far less painful than getting Novocaine at the dentist. They did, however, have to give me a double dose, as I was clearly feeling the needle probing. (Typical of me and my nanosecond of pain threshold. I truly believe I ‘burn off’ the first dose and it takes a second dose to actually numb the necessary area.)  The “snap” was loud, but the radiologist would say “OK, 1.2.3” so I could concentrate more full yon my breathing to keep from flinching. (It didn’t hurt, it was just startling.)

They tell me there was very little blood, and I should heal up fine. Now, several hours later, my breast is quite sore and a bit swollen. I have to wear a ice pad (its shaped like one of those individual coffee pods) on and off again for 24 hours (not while I sleep though). I also have to wear a bra for 24 hours. (Thank goodness I don’t wear an under-wire.)

I am quite proud of myself for maintaining a truly calm space. I was breathing well and it allowed me to get to a very relaxed place. It’s only afterwards that I find myself saying:

Now I REALLY get to worry.

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