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The Biopsy

The Biopsy

So I finally started my car and headed for home. I had a lot of thoughts going through my head. I had to call my boss and take off more time from work, I hope that will be OK. Wait- I had a biopsy scheduled in 4 days and I was more worried about taking time off from work. We women really need to change our priorities.

I got home and called my boyfriend, Terry (now my husband), to let him know I needed to have a biopsy done and that it was already scheduled. We could talk about it when he got home. I then called Jody to let her know. She said she also had to have a biopsy done previously and it turned out to be nothing. Ok, that’s good-right? I told her it was scheduled for Friday July 1st. I asked her what was involved with a biopsy. It’s pretty simple isn’t it? They just use a needle to go in and get some of the bad stuff so they can test it. There was a pause on the other end of the line. Jody was choosing her words (Uh Oh). “Yes and no” she said. She went on to explain. “They do use a needle to go in and get some of whatever is in question. You lay down on a special table on your stomach and your breasts (she uses nicer terms than I do) will hang down through an opening in the table.” That didn’t sound too bad. “There is a smaller mammogram machine under the table (I didn’t like where this was going) and they do a mammogram while they are doing the biopsy.” Wait…….What? I will be squished in a “mini mammo” while they are poking needles in my boob? So much for easier than the regular mammogram. Jody said, “Your breast goes numb after a short time of being compressed and they give you a local anesthetic as well. You do have to lie kind of still while they do the biopsy.” OK, since you are on a table on your stomach with your boob clamped into a machine under the table I wouldn’t think you could move very much anyway. She said it sounded worse than it was, and that they need to do a mammogram at the same time so they can see where to put the needle to get the sample. I guess that made sense, but thinking about it made my left boob twitch again. Jody told me she would come with me if I wanted. I told her I thought I would be ok, but I’d let her know.

I relayed most of that fun information to Terry when he got home. I told him what they found and that it might still be nothing. He also offered to come with me to the appointment if I wanted and I said I thought that would be good.

Later that day I did some research online about suspicious calcifications. I wanted to know what they were before the biopsy and if I should be more concerned. Turns out, they could go either way, benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). I already knew researching about a small tumor would not provide anything useful or comforting, so I left that one alone. Still, doing something, trying to learn something made me feel better. Knowledge is power, right?

My biopsy appointment was for the morning. We arrived and went to check in. I was informed that my health insurance would not cover it all. Yay. My health insurance at that time was very lacking, but that is another story that I will get into later. So I had to pay more to get the biopsy done. We waited a short period and they came to get me. I was led back to the same cubicle. I was there often enough it felt like a 2nd home (a really small home). Maybe I should hang some pictures or get a plant. From the cubicle we went to a room I hadn’t had the pleasure to visit yet. I met a nurse and a doctor. They reviewed what the biopsy entailed and asked if I had any questions. I looked at the table and thought, “ I don’t have very big boobs I hope they will hang down enough for the mini mammo to work”. Of course I didn’t ask that out loud. I climbed on the table, lay on my stomach and dropped my boobs into the opening. They helped get me into a proper position. The doctor clamped and unclamped a couple times checking to be sure she could get to the area she needed to biopsy. Once I was in position the mini mammo clamped and I was told to hold my position. While I couldn’t really move much, “hold your position” meant to keep my arms and head still and in the same place. Jody was right, after a few minutes the discomfort felt less as my boob got numb and the doctor gave me a local anesthetic so I wouldn’t feel anything. She then set to work getting the biopsy. Both the doctor and the nurse were great. They talked to me throughout and kept checking to see how I was doing. I know it’s hard to believe, but I lost track of time. My mind just kind of drifted off. Of course it’s not like I could watch the clock or check my phone. After a while they released my boob and said to stretch and adjust my arms and head if I needed. “Are we done?” I asked. “No, we have to go back in for 1 more” I was told. So I laid back down, a couple more clamp/unclamps and “hold my position”. She got what she needed and we were done. They reviewed what I would need to do for pain and self care over the next couple of days. The nurse said to be sure to wear a comfortable bra. Wait….What? You just had my boob in a clamp for I don’t know how long, poked a needle in I don’t know how many times and you want me to put on a bra? She said a bra is helpful as the support lessens the pain.

The doctor advised that being it was a holiday weekend (4th of July) I wouldn’t hear anything on the results until after the 4th. So, back to my cubicle, get dressed and out I go. My husband was waiting and I was very happy he came. I don’t think driving would have been very fun. Turns out I was on the table for about 2 hours. I found out later it took so long because the doctor actually removed the entire cluster of suspicious calcifications as well as getting a biopsy of the tumor. Way to go Doc!

Now, I just need to get through the weekend and wait for the results.

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