Stereotactic Core Needle Biopsy

My biopsy was set for October 2nd. Exactly one week after the mammogram.

I would’ve preferred an earlier appointment, but this was the earliest they could get me scheduled.

Amazingly enough, I wasn’t all that nervous. I just wanted it over and done with and to get the all clear.

But somewhere deep down, I had this nagging feeling that wasn’t going to happen. So much so, that I was half tempted to bring along my camera and get photos of everything, so that I could have this journey with breast cancer documented.

At the last minute I decided I was totally over reacting and left the camera at home.

When I arrived at the hospital, I changed my mind again and started snapping pics with my iPhone.

womens health reception

I figured if I didn’t take the photos, I’d regret it later.

It wasn’t too long before I was called back, changed into a gown and in the biopsy room. Everyone was super sweet. The doctor especially was very reassuring, informing me that 80% of the biopsies done at the hospital came back benign. That did make me feel a little better about the whole thing.

 Then she explained the procedure in detail, answered any questions I had, and once we managed to get through all the hospitals legal red tape (via many phone conversations between doctor, nurse and administration) it was agreed that I could have a photo of the procedure, as long as the doctor or radio-tech was not in it. In other words, me lying flat on the table with my boob (blocked out in the pic) squished in a vice with a needle stuck in it. Not quite the photo I’d wanted, but hey, at this point anything worked.

biopsy

I’d originally asked for a pillow because trying to get semi comfortable on that thing was next to impossible, and I had two sites they wanted to biopsy, so I wanted to be as comfortable as I could get.  There wasn’t a pillow available, but I was given a piece of foam, which worked pretty well.

The doctor explained what she is doing every step of the way.

They first clamped the boob between two plates and took films to make sure the area concerned fell into the hole that the needle would go through. The radio tech knew her job well and got it spot on first time.

Next, the doctor injected lidocaine into the area where she would make the tiny incision. I felt just a pin prick, nothing more. Some people complain of a burning or stinging sensation, but fortunately for me, I felt nothing too uncomfortable and certainly nothing painful.

Next, after the incision is made (which I didn’t feel at all, not even pressure) the needle goes in. More lidocaine and now with the addition of epinephrine.

This is where it got majorly painful for me. Not in the boob, in my neck. At first I thought I’d tensed up, or that the foam under my head was making me uncomfortable. I have never felt pain like it, my neck cramped so bad and the pain shot from the center of my shoulders up to the base of my skull. I asked the tech to remove the foam, I was in agony.

The needle went further in and then samples were taken, I had to have a little more lidocaine when I could start to feel a burning sensation.

After all samples in that area were examined and approved I was allowed to sit up for a while and stretch my back and neck.

Then on to round two.

This time I figured I knew what to expect so got more comfortable and managed to relax very well. I didn’t need the foam ‘pillow’ and wasn’t the slightest bit tense. Good!

Again, the lidocaine, incision and needle. Then the epinephrine….and Holey Moley, the neck pain, if possible, it was twice as bad as before. I literally felt sick, and started to shake a little. I mentioned it to the doctor, but I don’t think she’d ever heard of anyone having a reaction to it before, so kind of dismissed it.  I have to admit even though, while you are on that table, you are supposed to stay perfectly still, I did move my head and brought my right arm up to massage my neck. There’s no way I’d have gotten through the procedure if I hadn’t. Im pretty sure as tight as they had my boob clamped, it wasn’t going anywhere.

Here’s a couple of the samples taken. Totally gross to think that yuk stuff is what our boobs are made of.

IMG_2788

When it was determined they had collected the samples they needed, I was allowed to dress and go home. She said she would call me when she got the pathology report, gave me her hospital, cell and home phone numbers just incase I had any problems, or questions.

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