Saturday, September 22, 2012

The bone marrow biopsy

I am back! I need to apologize to the one person following my blog for not keeping up with the posts. I know how frustrating it is to find someone who seems to share something in common and then to be left hanging, not knowing the outcome. I bet my follower wondered if I was still alive. I know I have had that thought when I see a year or more pass between blog posts. I promise dear follower I will not let so much time pass again.

Ok so where did I leave off? Oh yes my visit with hematologist number 2. By the way, I am now up to hematologist number 3 and 4! So much catching up to do!

So heme number 2 changed my diagnosis from ET to PV and advised me to get my name on a bone marrow transplant list before I became too old. I was 54 at the time and never really thought that I was old. My husband and I left the office with plans to call Dana Farber Cancer Center and make an appointment with a specialist in myeloproliferative neoplasms. And so I did. An appointment was scheduled for the first week in September. It seems all doctors take multiple vacations during the summer which makes scheduling appointments a bit of a hassle.

The next day I got a call from heme number 2 asking me to come back to the office, he had some thoughts to share with me. I agreed to meet him again. This time the visit included the very experienced hematologist who I was originally scheduled to see. She is the doctor who cared for my mother in law years ago. Heme 2 apologized for mis-speaking about the bone marrow transplant. He told me he spent many hour researching my disease and consulting with his mentor and the other docs here in the practice. His mentor advised him to keep me far away from a bone marrow transplant team because they will find a reason to do a transplant and 'kill me'.  Ok now! 

He continued and said he can do a bone marrow biopsy here in the office and give me so many drugs I will not feel a thing. Both heme 2 and Dr. G, the experienced heme, could tell I wasn't buying it. I said again NO. Dr. G commented that it would be very simple to perform a bmb on me because I am so skinny.  She said it would be a piece of cake.  I composed myself and quietly pointed out that while it might be a 'piece of cake' to you, I will forever have the sound of the bone cracking etched in my brain! At that moment Dr. G jumped up, clapped her hands and said ok. It will be done in the hospital and she was off to make the arrangements. 

A week later the bmb was scheduled for the operating room at the local hospital. I was given my pre op instructions and told when to arrive. My hubby and I arrived at the out patient area of the hospital where I was greeted by the nurse responsible for my pre-op care. She handed me a hospital Johnny and directed me to the bathroom and what to do with my street clothes. I asked her if she needed a urine sample and she said no. Back at the bed she asked me the usual list of questions about medications and health history. Then she looked at my chart and commented on my age and casually said Oh you don't have periods any more. Surprise! Oh yes I do! I assured her I was not pregnant but she insisted I try to produce a urine sample. Unlike my dog who seems to have an unlimited supply of pee on demand I said I did not think it was possible right now. Please try she implored. Half an hour later there was a knock on the bathroom door. How are you doing? No luck I said. I even tried the potty training trick of running water in the sink! Back to the bed to wait for the operating room nurse.

So this is a male nurse who had been given a brief over view of my medical history by the pre op nurse. He looked at my chart and made a comment that bone marrow biopsies are generally not performed in the operating room. Is there anything he should know about me? The look on his face told me he was really wanting to know if I was a psycho case who would spaz out on him! I replied No there is nothing more to know, I am just a big baby when it comes to pain. I am not a good patient and I will not apologize for it. So I am lying in the bed waiting to be wheeled into the operating room with my male nurse still looking for clues in my chart for something about my mental state. Suddenly I hear a female voice. Mary, do you have golden retrievers? Startled that this indeed was the voice of God I looked around to find the source. The privacy curtain separating me from the patient in the next bed opened. There was a friend of mine who had just had a procedure and was waiting to go home! She recognized my voice. We instantly brought each other up to speed on our health issues. My male nurse had left my bedside but returned with a hand written note asking me if I wanted to move to another spot to protect my privacy. No I assured him this was ok.

Finally I was wheeled into the operating room. My doc Heme number 2 was waiting for me in his scrubs.  He looked as though he felt out of place. Perhaps he did. Hematologist only perform one procedure, a bone marrow biopsy, and as we all know these are not generally done in the operating room. Just in the doctor's office. So I bet he did feel out of place. 

The anesthesiologist introduced himself to me and asked me about that pee sample I was not able to produce. I reassured him I was not pregnant! Just in case, he continued, what would I do with the pregnancy? I couldn't believe he was asking me this, here and now! I repeated I am not pregnant! This entire experience was becoming just a bit too bazaar!

I don't remember what happened next, but I was back in the pre-post op area wanting to go home!

Two weeks later I am back in the exam room of heme 2. He reports that my bmb shows evidence of an over proliferation of cells. The only treatment I need at this time is a daily baby aspirin. Go out and live my life and come back in three months. 

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