Monday, March 09, 2009

Sherrie's biopsy

Sherrie and I just returned from the biopsy. Overall, it wasn't the most pleasant experience for Sherrie, but she's feeling fine now, though starting to get sore. She'll likely be sore for a couple of days.

First, the technician performed an ultrasound (both sides) to see the suspicious masses, and then she went and spoke with the radiologist to plan how to perform the biopsies. The basic procedure for both was to give Sherrie a shot to deaden the area (both on the surface and deep inside), then insert the biopsy needle/gun, take a few samples (they said five on each side, but ended up taking only three on each side), insert a metal marker to mark the spot where the biopsy occurred, apply pressure to stop the bleeding, clean up, and apply a bandage.

It sounds simple, and for the most part it was. though one of the needle pokes hurt Sherrie quit a bit. Also, she bled a fair amount on the second (right) side, but the doctor and his assistant weren't overly concerned about that. The whole procedure took about an hour.

I was in the room with Sherrie and watched the procedure unfold on the ultrasound screen. I could see the doctor positioning the needle near the mass and then when he shot the "gun", another part of the needle would shoot through a couple of centimeters (my guess). The shots occurred in pairs, and then the doctor would pull out the needle and put the tissue sample in a bottle of some kind of liquid.

At one point during the second biopsy on the right side (with the smaller mass), he asked if any of the samples were "sinkers." Sherrie asked about this, and he said that a "sinker" is more likely to be a "good sample," meaning more dense tissue. I took this to be a codeword for "malignant" tissue, but that's just my supposition. The fact that they got a "sinker" on the right side as well as the left may be some indication that the mass on the right side is cancerous as well, but that's pure speculation on my part.

After the biopsy procedure, Sherrie had another mammogram to document the location of the markers where the biopsy tissue was taken.

She has to take it easy for a couple of days ("no tennis, vacuuming or weightlifting"), and they said ice would be "her best friend" for the next day or so. She is to expect some bruising where the needle shot through her tissue.

Our appointment to get the results and speak with the surgeon is scheduled for Thursday, but may change to Friday depending on how fast they get it done.

Sherrie is in good spirits. She's been making rather humorous observations of late. For a few days now, she's been lamenting the fact that she's never bought pink breast cancer awareness items. After the biopsy, she asked if I had seen the metal marker they put inside. I said, no, and she remarked that it was shaped like the ubiquitous ribbon for AIDS awareness, breast cancer awareness, POWs, etc. She said something to the effect of, "I guess if you don't buy the stuff, they eventually stick it in you anyway."

No comments: