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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Core Biopsies

August 6, 2009: The staff was already used to me. They knew my husband would be accompanying me for the biopsies. There were no arguements. He waited while I changed out of my shirt into a short gown and the volunteer escorted us into the same ultrasound room. I was so tired, having only slept for a total of five hours of the last 48.
I asked the assistant, Kim, if she could please make sure my breasts were numbed before they used the ultrasound probe or did any disinfecting for the proceedure. She said that it wasn't possible. I was confused. "But my sister said she was completely numb...I don't understand...I don't know if I can go through with this. I already know I'm very advanced, at least a stage 3c..." She looked at me sympathetically, nodding her head slightly in acknowledgement of what I had said. I went on, "Why should I put myself through this?" My voice trailed off. I was tired and couldn't stand the thought of that probe. "You have to understand, the pain of anything touching my nipples, it makes me feel like I need to crawl out of my body..."
My husband spoke up at this point. "Kim, why don't you give us a minute."
Kim left the room. My heart failed me. Eric, my husband, came over and prayed for me. I cried out to God. "Lord, I don't know what to do! I need your strength! I don't know if you want me to do this biopsy. Please. I need you to tell me what to do." I was unable to go on. My husband urged, "Honey, we can leave. You don't have to do this...'
Just then the strength came. The presence of God came upon me and I was OK. That was all I needed. Kim came back into the room. "She's ready" my husband told her.
I told Kim how God met me with His strength. Kim was so wonderful. She did everything she could to keep the probe off my nipples. Then the doctor came in. Being a man (in sorry to say this, but it's true), he couldn't understand my discomfort. When I asked him to do a breast exam with the flat of his fingers instead of the fingertips, he just couldn't figure out how that could be accomplished. My regular doctor, a female, had no problem with that request. I told him I didn't want anything on my nipples. He ignored me and proceeded to use a betadine soaked Qtip to rub over my nipple. I was very angry. I couldn't say anything. Why don't they just listen to me? He asked a question. I told him I couldn't talk now I was too angry. He stated, "I have to do what I have to do"...I countered with, "I am a healthcare provider and I would never say that to one of my clients when they asked me not to do something!"
He finished the biopsies on my left side and left the room. Kim offered to prep me for my right biopsy. "I used to do it anyway." She was a life saver! She found a way to roll the Qtip over my nipple in a way that was not near as uncomfortable as what the doctor did.
The doctor came back in. "OK, I'm not angry anymore." I said. He chuckled. He couldn't believe my pain tolerance of the proceedure when I was having such a hard time with the nipple thing. I tried to explain it was the type of pain. I told him, "I had five children at home, I don't have a problem with a low pain tolerance." He was impressed. He loosened up and began talking about his life. We came to a pretty good understanding of one another. I liked him. "Now, Doctor, I am 100% responsible for my healthcare decisions. I see you as my resource person. I absolve you from all responsibility and want to know what you are thinking. IF I wanted to do some research on the type of cancer I have, what would you tell me to research?"
He was totally at ease with me. "I am 95% sure it's invasive ductal carcinoma with metastisis to the lymph nodes."
"Thank you."
More research.

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