Today was my second bone marrow biopsy. I was more anxious than last time, since I didn’t know what to expect the first time, and kind of came up quick (got my diagnosis 3/13 and had biopsy 3/17). This time, I knew what to expect, and was anxious because of it. This is not a walk in the park procedure (sorry), this doesn’t feel good and you don’t get anything but a local anesthetic (which doesn’t reach the bone, just up to there). I was told the procedure would be better than the first time, since my cells don’t have the leukemia/bad blood cells it was producing before… that was not true, I’m sorry to say (and was afraid of). I am only 34 (35 in a couple of weeks) and have strong bones – and was told that today. I’ll describe my experience in depth below, so if you’re squeemish, you can close the browser window now 🙂
Before the procedure, I had to go to my doctor (1-4 days before biopsy) for bloodwork, to check for clotting (but they took 4 vials, so I’m sure there was more to it). When you show up to the procedure, they also took a vial of blood (after the 3rd attempt to find my vein – always fun with inexperienced techs). Then I was escorted to the CT room. Lay on your stomach, move clothes from the hip area and slide you into the CT so they can check where they want to take the sample from. They take you out, make a mark, put you back in, tell you to hold your breath, then breathe, a few times to make sure they’re going into a good portion of bone for the sample.
Once the area is marked, some nice pricks for the local anesthetic, and then begin the needles. They remove some fluid outside of the bone for testing (bone marrow aspiration) and then go for the bone. There is no numbing of the bone – you can feel that jarring of your body and the tool back and forth (of what is essentially a saw) to get the sample out. My first biopsy, my bone got stuck in the tool and decided to take a second sample (yes, another area “sawed” until another sample came out). Today, it was some tough back and forth (with a little crying and biting of my hand weaved throughout the procedure). The grand finale was my hip being lifted off the table so the surgeon could pull hard enough to get the sample out, and thus I received a compliment on how strong my bones were. The second my hip returned to the table, I realized it was finally over and felt a sense of relief.
Knowing the procedure from before, and don’t think it was easy before, I was no looking forward to it. I was away for work Monday – Wednesday this week, and when I came home, the sense of anxiousness overwhelmed me, since my body knew why I had to leave the training early and come home (bloodwork Thursday and biopsy Friday). It is not a fun procedure, but there is no way to be 100% sure whether or not you are in remission without it. While my white blood cell count is up (which is indicative the marrow is making good blood cells again), it cannot be said I’m in remission until the bone marrow biopsy is done.
Please continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers, my results are scheduled in a couple of weeks (just shy of my 35th birthday) and hoping for another reason to celebrate!!!