wide-eyed at 4am

The Needle Biopsies: May 13 (Ha! Lucky 13?)

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Needle biopsies, in fact three of them.

One in the area of some calcifications and two in shadow areas. The process wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. The most difficult part was lying on my side with my left arm over my head during part of the process. My hips and arm were pretty much in a permanent cramp.

The best news about this procedure was that all three needles would not be inserted simultaneously. If that were true, I would have felt pretty much like a shish-ka-bob.

By the time three procedures were completed (in 2 different rooms) I had the cleanest, numbest and slickest boobie in town.

They used two types of procedures to do biopsies. The shadow areas were done using ultrasound to pinpoint the right place to grab tissue. This required that I stay on my right side with my left arm over my head (as noted previously) as the radiologist took the two samples.

After receiving the numbing needle(Lidocaine), the larger needle guide goes in. Then the biopsy needle goes inside of the guide needle to gather the tissue for analysis. After gathering the sample, a trigger fires a stainless marker into the place where the tissue was taken so the surgeon knows exactly where the tissues came from. The guide needle comes out and the next area is prepped and numbed for biopsy. Repeat of the first process.

So we moved to a different room for the biopsy of the calcifications. This takes a larger needle and uses a different process to find “the” spot. This required that I lay on my stomach with my breast hanging through a hole in the table. The breast is compressed for a mammogram – which is how they identify the area where the best sample can be gathered.

Thank goodness for the Lidocaine. After the other procedures, this probably would have been quite painful without numbing.

It was only about an hour after I had come in the door that I was adorning my most confining bra and listening to my post-procedure limitations. I would wear this bra for 48 hours – even during sleep. I also could lift nothing with my left hand that weighed more than 5 lbs during this time period.

My breast had an amazing black-purple-yellow color transformation with small hematomas from the needle sticks. Pretty – especially since our trip to Tampa was coming up and I wasn’t real sure how much of the bruising would show in my bathing suit.

I would get a call with the results. But I really didn’t feel very good about it because – during the biopsies – the radiologist made a “hmmmm… interesting” comment to his assistant that immediately made me feel nauseous.

I thought the analysis would take 3-5 days forcing me to spend the weekend in suspense. But the radiologist thankfully realized how tortuous a weekend wondering would be for me and called late Friday afternoon when my results came in.

Two spots – positive for cancer. The calcification area was not positive for cancer. This was good because I also had calcifications in my right breast. Since the left was not cancerous, they had no worries about the right side.


Author: jillpurdy

A few months ago I wasn't but now I'm a statistic. That doesn't define me. I'm a daughter, a sister, a wife, a step mom, a grandmother, a friend and a Christian. I will continue to love exercise, music, cooking and food, and my family and friends. I'm stubborn, energetic, giving and too OCD for my own good sometimes. And I'm going to stay this way - despite cancer and the treatments that it takes to give it the royal beatdown.

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