Friday, February 27, 2009

oh hi there

Eep, sorry i fell off the face of the planet for a while there. I've been dealing with a kidney stone which is by far one of the more annoying things in life. aside from setting off all sorts of masto symptoms, that sucker hurts, a lot. I've also been dealing with apartment hunting, as my partner and i decided we wanted to live back in the city. we ended up with a loft in a really neat artist collective and i cannot wait to move in...but i digress.

Ok, so my last post was all "whoo bmb time around the corner" (actually it was more "ooooh noooooo") and that corner has come and gone (though the procedure happened a week later than originally intended, and as such I am still waiting for the results which I should get by tomorrow or Monday). I had my bmb performed at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Oh such a somber place. I'm always fascinated by the direct relation between how serious the field the specialist works in seems proportionate to how nice people are in the office. At primary care they wouldn't notice if you were on fire, but when you are at one of the top cancer hospitals in the country, everyone is way nice.

the procedure itself was, honestly, a cakewalk. the worst part of it by far was my anxiety, which was at banner levels for me. anxiety is something that has been hard for me to cope with since my diagnosis, since I am afraid of things going badly in ways i am unfamiliar with. so far in every case my anxiety has just added to the situation and made it worse.

to avoid freaking out and trying to volley kick a doctor, i opted to take 1mg klonopin an hour before, and then 1mg ativan right before. i was not looped out of my mind by any stretch of the imagination, but i felt pretty warm and comfortable. it helped that my doctor was stellar and my husband was allowed to stay in the room with me.

the procedure itself was way less bells and whistles than i expected. since i went to Dana Farber wearing my yoga pants and a loose shirt they didn't have me undress, and just pulled my pants down and my shirt up. then i got a shot of a local anesthetic (not lidocaine, i forget what it was) and that burned really badly. the shot hurt since anesthetics seem to burn by nature, and because the needle was stuck really deep in there to numb everything from the surface of the bone up to the top layer of skin.

after that they went in and did the aspirate (which is the collection of liquid marrow) and then got the bone marrow sample. aside from the local which hurt really badly really briefly, nothing else was particularly painful. it felt weird, and sort of gross and alien to have my insides siphoned out, but overall it was not a super unpleasant experience. there is pressure and feelings that are completely unfamiliar, but i think that as long as your doctor knows what they are doing, you aren't freaking out, and you remember to breathe into the pain (sort of like lamaze or meditation), you'll be set. it is also pretty quick once you get in there and get prepped. the anticipation really is the worst part.

in the essence of documentation, i had my partner take pictures of the procedure. however needs freak them out, so they didn't get any good shots of me getting poked though. i decided (and the doctors agreed) that while i was completely fascinated by the procedure, it would not be in my best interest to actually watch since the gauge or length of the needles might upset me.

so here are some pictures of my bmb to show how absolutely much of a non issue the whole procedure was. i've had worse dentist experiences when it comes to pain.

pictures from the procedure