Ok, that’s enough.

Posted on September 19th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

The biopsy is over and the preliminary results (observations) are favourable. The sample today again looked like just blood drawn from a hematoma. The cytology report should be ready in a week. I don’t know what I was happier about- the biopsy being over or the news that the mass is likely a blood clot.

For those who may want to know the details of such a procedure, read on. I know it can sometimes be helpful for people to have some sense of preparedness if you are going through this. Some may choose to not find out if it adds to their anxiety.

I have now had four samples taken from my sternum area. Of these, hang on, let me count… none have been enjoyable. I think it is more to do with the fact that someone is working quite close to the core of your body with sharp implements. Every part of your body’s instinct is to protect the core of your body, so to allow such violation is a real discipline. I would imagine similar feelings occur with procedures to the head.

I gowned up in a two-tie exposing little number today. Being fairly tall, the gown tends to be more of a shirt for me, leaving my legs and upper thighs as temporary highlights on the ward for staff and other patients. I need to be careful not to drop anything on the floor as bending down to pick anything up can be awkward.

After a chat with the Specialist, consent forms were signed and I was taken into the CT room, as the CT scanner is used to provide guidance as the needle goes in. They did a few diagnostic scans first up which involves injecting a contrast dye into the cannula. This moves through your body pretty quickly and gives you a warm rush, you feel like you need to take a leak, but it passes (the sensation, that is). They then marked on my chest where the entry point would be and then prepared me for the biopsy.

They didn’t give me a sedative like I hoped for, as I needed to be fully awake to respond to the instructions of breathing. Local anesthetic is injected around the entry point, and for me this was just left of my sternum. Once the site is numb, the biopsy needle is pushed in a little way, and a scan is taken. The Specialist makes sure the needle is following the right line into the mass.

A guy from cytology was standing just outside the door, and as soon as a sample is drawn, he views the cells under a microscope and gives immediate feedback on the nature of the cells in the sample. In my case, it was to determine whether they did a full biopsy or just the aspirate. In the end, they just left mine as an aspirate, as there were no suspicious cells observed.

The most pain was felt as they punctured through cartilage. It is just uncomfortable, but then the needle reached a place that did give me a bit of pain, so I let him know. I did this with a pitiful wincing expression and a groan that spoke a thousand words – mostly expletives.

I realize how tense my body is during the procedure, as it is exhausted when I relax afterwards. After about 3 hours of monitoring, I was allowed to head home.

I don’t want to have to do that again. I have had enough for now, and am looking forward to getting back into my normal routine. I have decided that it is easier for me this time to live as if my results are benign while we wait for cytology. It is a lot easier than living in limbo. If the results are not favourable, I will deal with that then.

Innocent until proven guilty.



Comment on September 19th, 2008.

Glad to hear it went well, but I know how it is for us to wait for Oliver’s results, so I can only imagine what it must be like for you. I think you have chosen a wise path – as if you wouldn’t. No point using up valuable energy worrying about something you can’t change. Best to wait until you have something definite to focus your attention on. Thankyou for describing your procedure. We have no idea what is really happening for Oliver when he has these invasive procedures done so it helps to know what a grown man is going through. As a parent, I want Oliver to be as comfortable as possible during this ordeal of his, and so we sometimes aren’t sure when to push for sedation and pain relief – whether it will help or just be another drug for his body to endure. Thankyou for sharing your journey – though I’m sorry that you have the opportunity. I pray for a positive result and a cancer free future.


Comment on September 21st, 2008.

Thanks Simon, your situation with Oliver has been huge. It is one thing to be able to process these experiences with a mind that has had 34 years to develop. Oliver has had 8 months and has handled it in amazing ways.
We hope with you that this will be the last of it, and that he will be free from cancer forever.


Comment on September 21st, 2008.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m sure that the Australian Medical Rules Association allows for fighting back when it hurts… it’s up to the doctor’s to be tough enough to fight through your flailing arms & legs to get the hunk of metal into you… (then again, perhaps you’re showing how tough you are by resorting only to groans… that’s probably it)

muffin man's revenge

Comment on September 21st, 2008.

I am picturing the scene from the movie “The Rock” where Nicholas Cage has to jam a needle full of something into his own chest to save his life…if you had really been the man cam you would have taken that sharp instrument from the Dr. and said “watch this” and then jammed it into your own chest…that would have been supremely cool! :) glad to know it went okay.

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