Friday, December 21, 2012

Shoo, Flu Goo

Yesterday early afternoon, I had a stereotactic core needle biopsy, my second and I hope last. Beforehand, the radiologist showed me a picture of the line of calcifications, which was perpendicular to my lumpectomy scar, and said they think the calcifications got pulled into that configuration by the lumpectomy, so they don’t expect to find any problems, but need to check. Unlike Dr. P.’s thoughts, that actually was reassuring.

When he started, he said he would give me a small shot of Novocaine, and when that took effect, give me more Novocaine, and then start a Novocaine drip. I was to tell him if I felt any sharp pain, as opposed to pressure. I did feel sharp pain a number of times, and told him, and he turned up the drip every time, but it continued to be painful throughout. I don’t remember any pain last year, only the discomfort of lying on my stomach with my head turned to the side, which was uncomfortable this time, too, though eased by the attending nurse massaging my upper back. The final thing the doctor did was to implant a titanium chip in the biopsy area so they know where exactly to check in the future, if necessary. (A titanium chip was implanted at the end of last year’s biopsy, too, but got carved out along with the tumor.)

The nurse, by the way, was wearing a mask and when I asked about it, she said it was because she’d refused to have a flu shot, so she has to wear the mask until March. At first, I thought it was kind of strange and that she should just have the shot already, but then I remembered a close associate of mine who this year had a dreadful reaction to a high-dose flu shot (which is really a quadruple dose, evidently, not double). My friend felt lousy for a month and even coughed up some blood, so that nurse probably knows what she’s doing.

Toward the end of the procedure, the doctor said he wasn’t getting as many calcifications as he’d hoped and that he would take one more sample, but then he was going to leave it because he didn’t want to put me through any more discomfort. After he’d left the room, the nurse didn’t sound too certain that they had a good number of calcifications, but said the people who analyze the samples would take appropriate action. Presumably, if they don’t have a good sample, they’ll say so. It would have been better, I think, if the doctor had just stuck with it until he was sure of having enough calcifications, because what if there really aren’t enough and I have to have a whole new biopsy?

Afterward, I took a cab to see Deborah and then went home. The biopsy incision bled a little in the evening and eventually became very, very painful. I got up and took some Tylenol. The nearby nightclub was quite loud until past midnight, and some neighbor went in and out of his screen door about 10 times past 10 p.m., letting the door slam loudly every time, and I think I was pretty much awake until past midnight, hours past bedtime.

Then I woke up in the middle of the night, per usual, and lay awake for some time, and was also entirely awake before the alarm went off. I’ve suddenly become an insomniac. Why doesn’t the body naturally go to sleep when it’s tired? I feel terrible this morning.
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