During my once a decade physical, my family physician discovered a small shadow in my chest x-ray. While he was comforting, further precautionary tests were scheduled. CT scans were done, and to make a long story short, a biopsy was scheduled.
A needle biopsy, also called an aspiration, involves removing some cells—either surgically or in a less invasive procedure involving a hollow needle (which I refused to look at) from a suspicious area and examining them under a microscope to determine a diagnosis.
I scheduled an appointment with a recommended radiologist and things were underway. Did I mention I have a horrific fear of needles??? AHHHHHH! A short time later, outpatient surgery was scheduled and I began to freak. Just the thought of having cancer after both parent’s, sister, and discussion with a lady friend who may breast cancer was enough. I kept telling myself….it’s just precautionary tests, we’ll get through it!!
I checked in, signed papers and given instructions to read about the procedure.
A nurse handed me a relaxer and I was lead to a room to wait what seemed like forever. The nurse came in with an IV which went into my hand (the worst) and I was led away and told to lie down face first on a freezing table. It was then I asked NOT to see the tray of tools they were about to use and a local was injected in my back to numb the path of the biopsy needle. While I didn’t see it, it had to be at least half a foot long!
I received a local to numb the skin, felt a pin prick from the needle, along with some pressure when the needle was inserted. The area became numb in what seemed a few seconds. I was asked to remain still and not to cough, to hold my breath several times during the procedure. I guess it’s important that you try to maintain the same breath-hold each time to insure proper needle placement!
A limited CT scan was performed to confirm the location of the nodule and the safest approach. A nick was made in the skin at the site where the biopsy needle was to be inserted. Using imaging guidance, the needle was inserted through the skin to the site and samples of tissue removed. Did I mention they did this a couple times?? While I was given a sedative, I was awake during this! The procedure took what seemed to be an hour, although I honestly wasn’t keeping track.
You may want to have a relative or friend accompany you and drive you home afterward. This is necessary if you have been sedated. Of course, my ride decided to throw an unexplained fit day’s prior, a day after my Uncle’s funeral (whom had some x-ray concern’s of his own\ STRESSOR)…so she was out!!! THANKS! (STRESSOR) Therefore, I was stuck in a small recovery room for a few hours for observation. Then drove myself home, thankful my autopilot worked because my vision was still a little blurry. THANKS…
I was encouraged not to do any physical activity for at least 24 hours. The second day, I was still sore, however managed to do some light chores, mostly vegged on the couch and made some phone calls. The area they inserted the needle remained sore for a couple day’s, by day three I was back up to par, but the spot remained sore to the touch for about a week. Dr.’s warned me I could cough up blood, which I did (isn’t that human?). That lasted a couple days (another stressor)!!
After a couple day’s, I was allowed to remove the bandage and take a much needed shower. While soreness persisted, I hoped the worst was over. After a couple weeks, my family doctor phoned to say results were benign. RELIEF!! For now, no further tests required. We continue x-ray’s every few months just to keep an eye on things.
Next: mouth biopsy, not so lucky