Thursday, March 15, 2007

first pre-treatment tests completed

This afternoon at UChicago Hospitals I underwent the bone marrow aspiration and biopsy in addition to taking a pulmonary function test, CT scan, and regular blood work. I also signed the consent form for the GVD - SGN-30 study. These tests are the first of a series of exams that must be completed before I can start treatment, which is scheduled for the 22nd.

I had received all these at some point in the past except for the bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. Greg, the PA who performed the procedure, was fabulous. He explained the steps of the procedure clearly to Su and me very in advance and then, again during the course of the procedure. His relaxed attitude made us more comfortable. I received 5mg of morphine to relax me, but I didn't conk out or hallucinate as I did during the only other time that I received morphine which is when I first had a Hickman catheter implanted during my last go-around. In fact, because this didn't happen I was a bit concerned that the morphine wasn't working and that I'd be at risk for great pain but everything worked out just fine.

I laid face down on a flat hospital bed with both arms extended and hands placed above my head. Greg examined my pelvic area for a flat bone, ultimately selecting a spot on the right side of my pelvis. He numbed the spot thoroughly from where he extracted the marrow and the stem cells. It was his anesthetization of the pelvic bone which I credit for making the procedure go so well.

Throughout most of the procedure I took rhythmic breaths, squeezing Su's hands tensely as she stood bedside offering support. As his instruments moved deeper and deeper into my pelvic bone, the pressure increased further and further as did my breathing and my tight grip around Su's hands. My anxiety was high broken only by bits of nervous laughter, joking and smiles. It was this growing, dense feeling of pressure in the bone that made the experience unpleasantly stressful but tolerable thankfully.

At the end, he showed me the instruments used. They were no where near as frightening as we had imagined. They were quite ordinary. I also saw the piece of the bone, which was removed from my pelvis for analysis. I was told that the results would be available in about one week.

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