I had both biopsies on Friday. It was terrible. Everyone lied when they said the noise was the worst part. No surprise, the worst part is the pain.
The bone marrow biopsy was scheduled for 11. So I spent most of the morning trying to colour my way out of an anxiety attack with reasonable success. However, when they didn't show up at 11am, I started to freak out. By that point I just wanted it to be over with and dragging it out anymore just meant extending my stress about the entire process.
The team showed up around 1115, which really, wasn't that late. They prepped everything and had me lay in the fetal position on the bed. I put my music on and tried to zone out of everything. After wiping my hip off with iodine and other sterilizing chemicals, the doctor injected the freezing into the site. It was painful. Thankfully though, it worked pretty fast so I didn't really feel the other freezing needles go into the site. I was very optimistic that it would be over quickly.
And then we had to wait for the lab tech to show up. I didn't know this before but for a bone marrow biopsy, they have to make the slides for the lab immediately before the blood starts clotting. While we were waiting for the lab tech to show up, the doctor talked to her students about what was going to happen and kept the needle in my back as a placement for where she had frozen. I couldn't feel anything but it was still weird to hear not to move as I had a needle stuck in my back.
The lab tech finally showed up, set up his slides, and gave the all clear to proceed. I was worried the freezing may have worn off but that stuff was powerful. The spot was frozen for the rest of the day. I could feel the doctor's hands moving and some pressure but that was about it. She gave me a play by play of what she was doing which I think helped calm me down a bit. It didn't hurt until she got the needle into the bone. I didn't hear any bone crunching, probably because of the music, but I sure felt it. As it's impossible to freeze bone, not much can be done to mitigate that part. She suctioned out marrow three times while telling me the entire time to breathe through the pain. In through the nose, out through the mouth. It was like she was coaching me on having a baby.
I thought we were done until she said 'now onto part two!' No one told me it was a two part procedure. She went in a second time to get part of the actual bone. It didn't hurt as much as the suctioning part but it definitely was not comfortable. The worst part was when she was bringing it out she said causally "oops, almost lost it there." Please don't lose a piece of my bone in my back. She told the students that occasionally the piece is dropped on the way out of the body or onto the slide. They need a better system.
By the time it was all over, I had sweated buckets and was exhausted. It felt like I had been through a workout. Thankfully though, my back wasn't hurting as it was still frozen.
I managed to decompress for a bit when two hours later, a porter showed up in my room asking if I was Allison Watson and was I ready to go to radiological intervention. I replied that I was Allison, but no, I didn't know anything about going anywhere else that day. My nurse also didn't know why the porter was there either so she called down and found out that I was off for my liver biopsy. It was the day of the biopsy.
Once I was in the room, the nurse asked if I was ready to which I replied that since I found out it was happening 5 min ago, I guess I had no choice. At least I didn't have any time to get anxious about the process. The doctor ultrasounded the liver to find the best spot to go in. It turns out that my liver is high up on my body so most of the spots they wanted were under my ribcage. This lead to a lot of discussion between the two doctors in the area and a consultation of the CT scan. It also meant a lot of jabbing my ribcage with the ultrasound wand. Those things are not soft.
Eventually, they were happy that they found a way in and started prepping me for the surgery. Thankfully, this meant sedation. They told me they would only give me enough to make me pain free and relaxed as they need their patients to be semi-conscious in order to follow instructions about taking deep breathes and whatnot. They gave me the sedation and I was still very much wide awake and aware of pain. So they gave me more.
And I woke up in the hallway when the porter was wheeling me back to my room. It was excellent. I was very much out the entire time. They had written orders for me to stay in bed for 2 hours afterward which was fine by me as I spent the rest of the day sleeping off the sedatives.
I thought everything was going to be as painfree as I was on Friday until I woke up on Sat with pain everywhere. My liver hurt which was a weird feeling that I didn't think was possible. Also, my hip/lower back hurt from the bone marrow biopsy. I spent most of yesterday in bed as well recovering and napping.
Today I'm in slightly less pain but am still taking regular tylenol to help manage it. I had visitors for most of the day so I wasn't able to nap all day which was probably a good thing. At some point, I need to get up and move around a bit. I wasn't prepared for both sites to hurt so much afterward but in hindsight, it shouldn't surprise me as they were sticking needles into my liver.
I have no idea what's scheduled for tomorrow but I hope nobody else wants any more tissue samples.