Friday, January 2, 2009

My Biopsy

Dec. 24, 2008

I received a text from my best friend at 7:00 AM saying she was already at the dr. office. This was extremely surprising because my appt wasn’t until 7:30 AM, I was still on the road and my BFF is never on time for ANYTHING! A little background on my best friend (Dani): her Dad passed away in July from Gioblastoma (brain cancer) it was at a stage 4 when they found it, and it was in his hypothalamus so they could not operate. I wasn’t going to tell her about any of this until we knew something for sure, but I know that she would kick my ass if I didn’t tell her. She offered to come with me, and I at first said no, but my sister told me that since Chris (DH) couldn’t come with me, that it would be good to have her there with me, plus, this might mean a lot to her to be there for me and watch me fight it if it is in fact cancer. So I asked her to come with me, not thinking for a minute she would beat me to the Dr. Office!

I got there and she was sitting in a chair and she had signed me in. My Midwife (MW) came in about 5 minutes later (she also there for moral support). At about 7:45 I was called, and me and my entourage headed back. In the examination from, I was told that my entourage would not be able to stay. Both my BFF and my MW were fighting to stay. The radiologist came in and my MW won her bid to stay (saying it was not only for support, but for educational purposes) but my BFF was shown back to the waiting room to wait for the 1 ½ hours that the procedure would take.

I was told to disrobe from the waist up and put on a gown (opens in the front). I laid down on the bed and my MW held my hand. The radiologist first did the u/s and marked with a sharpie where she would make incision. There were two masses. The first one is the massive one that they are worried about. It looks like the Alien from the game Missile Command (this mass will be now known as AMC). Then came the skin anesthesia. The needle was about 2 inches and she made tiny pricks all along my breast. Then she took the anesthesia for the inside of the breast. This needle was scarier; it was 4 inches and had a lot more lanacain in it. Half way through I was still feeling a burning and she was surprised and asked if I needed more novacaine at the dentist, yes was my answer, so she gave me the full dose (Thank God). After she was done (the Radiologist) she held a scalpel and said that I have three choices when she pricked me, sharp, pressure or nothing. I felt nothing. She made a slit about ¼ inches in my breast got out the BIG NEEDLE.

Dear lord, this thing was a 8 inch long, 14 gauge needle that was spring loaded so once inside it would make the sound of a large stapler stapling (this was were the spring would snap and pull in the mass tissue). She tested the needle a few times so that I would be aware of the sound and wouldn’t jump when she did it. Then she with one hand on the u/s wand (to show where she needed to go) and one hand on the needle she shoved the needle into the slit and began the procedure of collecting the mass. At this point, my MW started to feel woozy. The tech told her that she had turned a shade of gray. The Dr. told her to lie down on the floor, which she did (she would pull on my gown to let me know that she was there with me). The Dr. found the spot she wanted and then came the countdown… 3…2…1… CLICK!! HOLY CRAP!!! The worst burning sensation traveled through my breast, around my chest to my back. I started crying and telling them that it was burning, my body started to shake. My MW pulled on the ground to tell me that I was doing okay and the tech beside me rubbed my arm. The radiologist pulled out the needle and emptied the needle into the Petri dish and I said that was it, we are done? “Oh no,” she said, “we have five more to do on this mass alone”. Oh my god and the tears started flowing more. Fortunately for me, she to wait a few more minutes trying to retract the needle again, that the anesthesia was kicking in more and the next needle didn’t feel as bad. By the third try, the dr. complained that there wasn’t enough power in this needle to suck the mass in. Words like “massive” and “large” were thrown around feely regarding AMC. They went with another biopsy need with a larger gauge, longer needle and more power. With this huge needle in my breast she was having me moved towards her, away from her, they put me on a pillow so it was easier to get to the tissue (apparently my other breast was getting in the way of the needle). Finally the last of the tissue was gotten and we moved to BOB…

BOB was my name for my second mass. It was also on the left breast about 1 ½ inches below AMC. So I named it BOB (for Bottom of Boob). We started again with the skin Lana Cain. This injection didn’t hurt because I still had residual numbness from the previous lump. But when they used the longer needle for numbing, it burned again. This time when she went to make the slice, I could feel sharp and we waited a few minutes before continuing with the procedure. BOB was easier to get to, we had to get 5 samples from BOB, and each time after the Click, and I could feel her pull off the end of the tissue from inside my body when she pulled the needle out. YUCK!! After BOB was done, the Dr put two tiny titanium clips into my breast where the biopsies were done, for reference when future mammograms. After my 1 ½ hr procedure that took 3 hours, I got to sit up and was told that I would need to have another mammogram done before I leave… WHAT??? Are you friggin’ kidding me? After all that, you want to squeeze my breast again??? They cleaned me up (didn’t know I had blood all over me, my gown) the tech took tape and taped up my breast and gave me a new gown to wear. The Radiologist requested that the samples be sent to Georgetown for testing. We were hoping the get the information back by Monday (there was some hope about getting it back on Friday). I begged the tech to please let Dani (remember her still waiting in the waiting room) come back with us. She agreed and left to go get her. I asked my MW then, “This is really not good huh?” She looked at me and said simply, “No.”

We were brought into a larger exam room, and Dani was brought back to us and my MW laughed and said that she definitely had learned her limitations and would not be doing that again. She said that she can handle natural things like birth, she can even assist in cesareans, but she couldn’t handle the emotional and the reality of this. But she was glad that she was with me, and wouldn’t do that again (hahaha). She headed out but promised me a prescription for some Tylenol with Codeine. Before she left Dani asked for all the cards to be put on the table and what was going one with me. After giving my MW the go ahead, she told her. Most cysts, clogged ducts, etc. are round and smooth. What I have (AMC) is a large mass that branches out like a tree, and the edges are not smooth. More times than not… Cancer.

I had the mammogram and once again I was thanking God that the anesthesia was still working as they squeezed. Then I got directions for my care, and picked up my Rx for codeine. I received 2 texts while waiting for my mammogram… Meg and Bridget thank you so much for thinking of me… You both crack me up!!!


  1. I LOVE LJ!! Eff off, Alien and Bob.
    Meg :)

  2. How funny that you named yours too! My mom named her tumor "Norman". I asked her early on in an email about the BC what we called it- 'cyst', 'tumor', 'evil-little'bastard-that-needs-to-die'? And she decided on Norman. So she referred to the lumpectomy as the "Invasion of Normandy".