Bone Marrow Biopsy. Um. Ouch.

February 24, 2020

When we discussed the bone marrow biopsy, the nephrologist said it was much easier than the kidney biopsy and that it didn’t take nearly as long. No need to hang out in the hospital all day to monitor bleeding. She also said I could drive myself to the appointment. Music to my ears.

I don’t believe I said this specifically but they do a bone marrow biopsy (and the PET scan) to rule out multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. If you’ll recall, Dr. C explained that this kidney disease is a plasma cell disorder. Patients who have multiple myeloma also experience poor kidney function and resulting anemia. It’s treated with different chemotherapy drugs than the igG3 disease I have, so it’s important to rule out prior to starting treatment. I arrived at the hospital at 9:30. I wasn’t allowed to have any food or water since the night before. I had the same pre-op nurse Linda, who actually remembered me, AND I got the same damn outfit! Green gown with red socks. Really? No variety?? (I hate the color red!)

She once again got me secured with an IV and moved me in to a holding area where I hung out for quite some time. At one point a nurse named Jason came over and explained the procedure. He was very nice and very thorough, but Jason, I know nursing is stressful, but you really need to quit smoking. He said the biopsy would be taken from my pelvic bone in my back. First they would do (yet another) CT scan, then numb the area up, and do the biopsy. He also said I would feel a lot of pressure because they have to remove a small piece of the pelvic bone. Then I would go to the recovery room for a while.

He said something about a sedative and “my driver,” and I said, “No, I was told I could drive myself.” Hmm. He didn’t seem particularly thrilled with that. He said he would go talk to the doctor to make sure it was okay to do it without the sedative. He returned and said it was okay (I mean truthfully, I could have gotten a driver had it been necessary) but they would give me a small amount of fentanyl for pain.

I was moved onto a different bed, face down (yet again bemoaning the lack of a massage table face cushion) and was told “DO NOT MOVE.” They did the CT scan, then a nurse drew something on my back (a large rectangle, I would later see). There were several people in there but I couldn’t see any of them, not even the doctor who would do the biopsy. “Hi Lori, I’m Dr. So and So.” “Hi,” I said into the bed. And they were off. I first got lidocaine again in my back, was reminded again not to move, and then they started on the biopsy.

Holy shit. That hurt. A lot. It was like nerve pain. I felt it shooting down my leg. But I followed the orders and didn’t move. I don’t know how long that took. Way too long in my opinion. I think at one point he was saying something to me but I couldn’t hear him because there was a loud machine of some sort in there. Maybe the CT scan? Or a fan? I don’t know. So maybe he warned me but all of a sudden, I felt a very painful WHOOMP like someone had jumped on my back. I’m sure that was when they took a sample of the bone itself. It felt like they shoved a chisel in my back and hit the top of it with a hammer. I’m going to guess that’s really not how they got that sample but good lord. It really hurt. Then the nurse was wiping off my back and putting the dressing on there. They told me to scoot back over onto the hospital bed. When I put my glasses on, that’s when I realized I was really dizzy and couldn’t focus my eyes. They told me that was from the fentanyl and would go away shortly.

I went to the recovery room, and the nurse there was very nice. She was from the Philippines. We were sort of just chatting as she was taking my vitals, when all of a sudden I got really sick to my stomach. I didn’t say anything to her but I must have looked ill because she said, “You want some crackers? I’ll get you some crackers.” I was also able to finally have some water.

I really couldn’t eat the crackers as much as I wanted to. Here’s the deal… fentanyl on an empty stomach will make you barf!! Man, I felt awful. Clammy, hot, cold, and barfy. I asked for a basin, and instead, she gave me this super cool alternative! It’s like a plastic sock with a rigid ring at the top. You don’t have to worry about overflowing the basin (been there, thank you Boston Market food poisoning), and it’s really easy and far more hygienic to dispose of. But luckily that feeling passed fairly quickly, and I didn’t have to try out this new-fangled gadget.

However, the nurse was concerned that I was going to drive myself home so she kept me there a little longer than usual. When I was finally allowed to get dressed and use the restroom (no bed pan, yo!), she said, “I’m going to watch you walk over there. If you’re wobbly, you can’t drive yourself home.” But honestly at this point, I felt fine. The nausea and dizziness had passed, and I didn’t feel drugged anymore. So they let me go. One more test to anxiously await the results of.

Hemoglobin: 9.5

The Barf Sock™

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