My bone marrow biopsy was this morning. When I arrived on the 6th floor, I stood in line to register before taking my place in the waiting area. As I was standing in line, I listened to the patients in line with me talk to one another, and also to the receptionist. It was clear that they all knew each other. The lady standing behind me even knew this particular receptionist’s schedule. I thought about how funny it was, in a strange way, that this had become so routine to them. They were a funny little group of people, in various states of baldness or hair regrowth, with a new routine. It was strange knowing that I would soon be a bonafide member of this group. Before long, I would be standing in line, accustomed to this new routine, and maybe I would get to know these patients, and these receptionists.
Before long, I was brought into the room where the biopsy was to be performed. I lay on my side as the nurse applied this numbing cream to the back of hip and sealed it in with a large tagaderm (like a large clear bandaid that is sticky all over). I was looking out the window and I remembered how, as a young child, I imagined I could fly. I watched the traffic go by on highway 15, not too far into the distance, and for a moment I imagined myself soaring above it all. That is what I will do – I will soar above this.
The biopsy itself was only mildly painful. It’s the anticipation of pain that is worse. Though, I have to say, the aspiration part wasn’t pleasant. All in all, it probably only took about 15 minutes and about 4 vials of xylocaine or whatever they use to numb you. While he was drilling the hole in my back he told me he’d be sending me to Saint John for my PET scan because Moncton’s PET scanner is broken. No word yet on when that is happening.
I also had my surgical consult today. He is planning to try to get a biopsy laprascopically but said that the tumour’s position might make that very difficult. If he is unable to obtain a sample via laprascopy, he will perform an incision about the size of his hand and obtain a biopsy via laparotomy. 2 weeks. April 18th. I don’t even care how he gets it, I just want it done. 2 weeks seems like an eternity.
When I arrived home, I sat on the couch with dad. He told me about the kid he used to hang around when he was about 10 years old. This kid smoked, gambled and cussed with his parents. I asked him how old he was when he started smoking and he said it wasn’t long after that (he quit about 20 years ago). He told me how he remembered getting a carton of cigarettes for Christmas and we both laughed. I imagined my grandparents saying to him “go see what Santa brought for you” and the child version of my dad gleefully unwrapping a carton of cigarettes. It was funny, but also sad. People didn’t realize how bad smoking was for you back then… But they certainly do now. I never smoked. My cancer was random, and my sister’s was too. Anyone can get cancer. It’s like this giant game of Russian roulette and the bullet in the barrel is cancer. But if you smoke, you’ve just put another bullet in the barrel. If you have any sympathy at all for me, for what I am going through, for the love of God, STOP SMOKING. I think about my cousins and my cousin’s kids who are still in high school, and my heart breaks a little for them because I can’t bear the thought of them being in my place right now. Quit now. Don’t force another poisonous plume of smoke down your throat. I don’t want any of you to have to go through what I’m going through – what I’m about to go through.