Friday, November 20, 2009

Biopsy, Part Two (or, Holy SH** that hurt!)

I’m so sorry!  I’ve been going from appointment to appointment the last three days.  Since there’s a lot to tell, I’m breaking it up.  I promise, though, that things are turning out for the best!  There’s a lot of good news to report, & a little bad.

About 5 years ago, I had a rather large mass removed from under my left armpit.  It was biopsied, but they didn’t know what it was.  The good news was that it wasn’t cancer.  They couldn’t dig the whole thing out, as it went pretty deep.  There was concern that nerves could be damaged, causing me a lifetime of pain.  So, they left a portion of the mass where it was, & told me that the chances were that it would grow back.

Well, apparently, it did.  I began to notice it about a year ago.  Knowing (hopefully) that it wasn’t cancer, I figured I’d leave it alone.  Unfortunately, it showed up on my MRI.  Dr. Quiros, being thorough & cautious, asked for the area to be biopsied.  This led to round two of the biopsy booby dance.  Back up to the Regional Breast Health Center I went.

Before I get into it, though, I have to take a detour (you’re surprised why?).  You know how I’m always telling you that I’m spectacularly inept when it comes to technology?  Well, I proved it, yet again.  I took my new “moron proof” camera to the breast health center.  Sadly, moron proof has yet to meet me.  Until they make something “Lucy proof”, they just haven’t dumbed it down enough.

Apparently, I’d left my memory card in my laptop – at home.  This meant that I could take 5 pictures max.  Add to that the fact that I didn’t check the batteries & I think you’re getting the picture.  I kept trying to take photos of the girls at the Breast Center, but they wouldn’t take.  Dr. Sebastiano (who did my biopsy) looked at the camera, & said it was on timer.  I didn’t even know it HAD a timer, so I have no clue how it got turned on.  Finally, I managed to get two shots of the ladies.

I wanted to include myself in the photo, so I handed the camera to Matt.  It was at just that moment that the batteries died – thank God.  I say that because Matt shared with me on the ride home that as soon as he went to take the picture, my glamorous gown had opened – wide.  My girls were there in all there glory saying “Tah Dah”!  So, maybe dead batteries were divine intervention.

I found yet another problem with my moron proof camera.  I lost the cable that would hook it up to the computer for downloads.  And since the memory card wasn’t in it, well, I wasn’t able to download the two pictures I had managed to take.  After many rounds of debate, it was decided that Elyse (bless her little heart) would take a picture of the tiny photo showing in the view finder.  She did so, & I was able to clean it up – a bit.  Ladies, I promise, I did my best.  So, here they are – the raging (& most amazingly kind) beauties from St. Luke’s Regional Breast Health Center:

  Okey doke, back to “the biopsy”.

Dr. Sebastiano came into the room & put some type of CD player on the counter.  I’d never seen anything like it, but, no big shock there.  I only just begun using CD’s, but only because they don’t make cassettes anymore (there’s a rant in there somewhere).  She told me that she’d be happy to turn on whatever I liked.  But, since I liked the lady’s style, I went with it.  I’m telling you, folks, the doctor was adorable!  She’s the most down to earth person I’ve ever met in my life – and also one of the sweetest.

The first biopsied area was uneventful.  However, when we got to the large mass under my arm, it was pretty painful.  After the doctor numbed me up, she took the first specimen.  I felt it – big time - & about catapulted myself to the ceiling.  No one, including myself, was expecting that.  It hurt so much, it brought tears to my eyes.

Dr. Sebastiano put more lidocaine (numbing medicine) in, & we went for another try.  Yet again, it just about killed me.  There was no amount of lidocaine that the doctor could inject that would calm what were apparently the nerves under my arm.  I felt everything.  That’s when the doctor told me she wanted to stop; she felt awful.  She wanted to recommend that during my mastectomy, they remove the mass & biopsy it afterward.  She really, really didn’t want to continue on.  And poor Kirsten & Tonya were just pale.  Kirsten kept rubbing my leg & Tonya my shoulders.

However, I remember the original surgery that removed the bulk of the mass.  Despite having surgery many, many times, that one ranked number one as the most painful surgery ever in the history of surgery.  Ever.  I’ve never felt like that before in my life & I wasn’t keen to repeat it.

I begged the poor doctor to continue.  I think they all thought I was crazy, but they agreed to continue with what Dr. Sebastiano referred to as torture.  The doctor was able to take the specimens that she needed.  And honestly, the last two weren’t as bad as the first ones.

At this point, I want to point something out.  Biopsies AREN’T painful as a rule!  They’re not pleasant, & you wouldn’t ever say, “Gee, it’s a sunny day; maybe I’ll go have a biopsy”.  However, they numb the living daylights out of you, & the rest isn’t really a big deal.  In fact, it’s the numbing that’s the most uncomfortable.  UNCOMFORTABLE – not painful!

Ladies, if you’ve ever had a baby, then trust me, it’s a walk in the park compared to that.  If you’ve ever had a tooth numbed prior to filling a cavity, then you’ll know what to expect.  In my case, it was the location of the mass that caused me so much pain.  So please, please, please, keep this in mind if you ever get told you need a biopsy.  This was truly an odd location & unusual experience.  OK?  If you have a mass that requires further study, have the biopsy.  It could very well save your life!  Sometimes, us broads just gotta cowboy up.

Up next, the results.  A little bit of bad news, but also some great news.  

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