Blood work, MRI, and bone marrow biopsy – DONE!

J and I actually had a pretty good day yesterday at Dana-Farber. I mean, as far as long days at a hospital go, it was about as good as it could be. :)

We left our house REALLY early in an attempt to avoid rush hour traffic headed into Boston and as a result we had a lot of time to kill when we arrived. Dana-Farber has a “concierge” service where you can borrow books, magazines, and ipads. I have never used this service before but since we were going to be there literally all day and were very early we figured it might be cool to borrow an ipad. Took us a little while to figure out how to work it since we are both a bit technologically challenged. We both still have flip cell phones that only make calls and send texts. Sad and pathetic, but true. Once we got the hang of using the ipad it was a good distraction throughout the day.

Around 9:30 I dropped off my 24 hour urine collection jugs. I transported them this time in a healthy Whole Foods bag which will hopefully result in very healthy pee. When I had my blood drawn and the nurse was printing out all the labels for the tubes of blood she asked me, “Is this normal for you? All these different blood tests?” Hah. Unfortunately, yes.

AND THEN, she left the line in my arm. I tried to explain to her that I was not getting contrast for my MRI but she said she wanted to leave it in, “Just in case…”

Here we go. Back to the contrast controversy. Seriously!

After my blood work was the MRI. I had to fill out a questionnaire (very similar to the questions I was asked during the pre-screening phone call) and then waited for a while. I started obsessively checking my blood work results on the Patient Gateway website. Crazy how quickly some of the tests are processed.

The MRI wasn’t bad. As soon as I was called in the radiologist confirmed that I would be having the MRI without contrast and they would take the line out when the test was finished. Thank God. I had to change into scrub pants and this weird wrap-around gown. I laid down on the MRI table and they put a heated blanket on me (ahhhh….I love being warm) and ear plugs for my ears. I was also given this sqeezey ball thing to signal the radiologist in case I needed a break.

Initially, going into the tube I got a little freaked out. IT’S SMALL. Way smaller than a PET/CT tube. My face was like 3 inches from the top of the tube. When the test started I just closed my eyes and almost fell asleep. Thank you, Ativan. My back also got really warm which I enjoyed and also made me sleepy. The test is definitely super noisy but the earplugs helped.

After the MRI was complete J and I headed to the cafeteria. We had a little bit of time before my bone marrow biopsy and aspiration. I continued to check my blood work online, ate a little fruit, and then apparently, according to J, just sort of stared off into space for a while. Again, thank you, Ativan. :)

Next, was my bone marrow biopsy and aspiration.

I was REALLY nervous since I had such a terrible experience during my first biopsy in July with the crazy cramping and leg spasming. I described what had happened to the PA and mentioned I still had sciatic pain down the back of my left leg. He was a little horrified, confirmed that the other PA must have hit a nerve, and said that hopefully this experience would be very different. He was also going to preform the biopsy and aspiration on the right side this time. I think in an attempt to not totally throw the other PA under the bus he said maybe my right side will have less nerves. Sure….

Anyway, this biopsy was definitely a completely different experience than last time. It was a piece of cake! Well, not really, but it was a heck of a lot less painful. The PA told me exactly what was happening and had me breathe in deeply then breathe out really hard as he was doing the aspirations and biopsy. Now, of course it was still painful and I wouldn’t want to have one everyday, but it was definitely tolerable. Nothing compared to my last biopsy. The bone piece looked completely different this time. Almost curly and in fragments, not like the 2 inch long uncooked spaghetti piece in July. I hope the piece was enough to get a good reading!

After my last biopsy I was out of commission for like a week. And down the back of  my left leg still hurts to this day. This time, 30ish hours after my second biopsy, I just got home from a spin class! What a difference a good PA makes!

But let’s be real, I’m exhausted and really probably shouldn’t have gone to class. But the Permanent Health Kick must continue. :)