June 14, 2011
I’ve been to so many doctor appointments lately. I just go through the motions. Basic cable waiting rooms, pay the copay, talk to the doctor, get blood drawn or lung drained – the usual. I don’t know if it was being medically molested for three weeks or all the lidocaine finally got to my head, but I feel defeated. It’s been nice having Erica there for these appointments. She asks the questions and takes the notes. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to think. Just tell me what time and what vein you want.
I was already apprehensive of the bone marrow biopsy; luckily, I didn’t watch this video before I left the house that day. Don’t worry – the guy in this video getting the bone marrow biopsy is not real. It’s just a lifelike dummy that can breathe, talk, extract bone marrow samples and look very, very real. If he was human, he would be crying like a baby girl – the standard operating procedure. Had I known I was about to go through this, I probably would have stopped at a liquor store before the appointment for a 40 oz. of support.
I had an eerie feeling about today’s procedure. “Bone marrow biopsy” didn’t sound fun, contrary to what the receptionist told me. What should I be scared of? I’ve been through crappy procedures before. This procedure would be done by my oncologist…and I like her. I thought I was a seasoned vet. I was wrong.
As the minutes ticked by in the waiting room, I became wary. I was having second thoughts about going through with this. Why am I sweating in this cold ass waiting room? I couldn’t go through with this today. Just as I came to this realization, a nurse came to get me. I wasn’t going without a fight. She grabbed me by the arm, but I broke free. I ran for the door, but she grabbed me by my legs and started pulling. I grabbed onto the door handle as hard as I could. My body was parallel to the ground as she yanked on my legs. I lost my grip and fell to the floor. My fingernails dug into the carpet as she dragged me across the room. Damn, this little Filipina is strong! She lifted me by my legs and flung me across the room like a hammer throw, blowing the US Weekly’s right off the table. My little nephews were crying and screaming at what they just witnessed. My sister, Julie, covered their eyes and consoled them. Erica was crying, “It wasn’t supposed to be like this!” And my dad continued to watch HGTV…he missed the entire thing.
The nurse threw me down on the table face first and strapped my arms down with chains. She ripped off my shirt and proceeded to gently clean my back with alcohol. She still has to follow protocol you know. The room became hot like a furnace. The walls turned blood red. Smoke started to creep in from under the door. A sinister laugh began to echo in the room. A silhouette appeared from the smoke. I could begin to make out the face…it’s my oncologist! Dun dun duuuun!!! She explains how she’ll do the procedure. She may be Dracula today, but she goes by the rules. First, some lidocaine injections in the back. Then they’ll take this drill bit:
Jam it down into my pelvic bone and suck my bone juice (I believe that is the clinical term). They need the bone marrow to determine my lymphoma’s stage. If the cancer cells have spread to my bones it could put me in Stage IV. I always hated that level on Tetris.
They injected the lidocaine into my lower back. Just another day at the office. Now it was time for some big needle love. As I lay on the table for the procedure, I just imagined myself on a nice white sandy beach. Laying down, sipping on a cocktail in a coconut, while someone is driving a nail into my lower back with a sledgehammer. The doctor is telling me, “breathe, breathe, breathe,” as she’s digging the big needle threw my flesh. This was just the beginning.
After breaking through the mantle, she only needed to get past the core before she could get to my magma. “Breathe, breathe, breathe,” as she’s twisting and digging the needle into pelvic bone. I thought the thoracentesis was shitty, but this was an all new level of suck. All I could do was laugh – hysterically – with my eyes bugging out and one thought running through my head, “Are you fucking kidding me right now?!”
And it got better! It was time to get the sample. Do you know what it’s like having your soul taken from you – through your pelvic bone?! It’s not cool! “Breathe, breathe, breathe.” The lidocaine didn’t seem to dull the awesome sensation of having my bone essence yanked from inside me. Oh, I felt that shit! She pulled a couple samples, each one felt as awful as the one before it. Who knew getting your bone juice sucked would be painful? Luckily, I had my terrified laughs to sooth the pain.
My lab results from this better come back negative, because I never want to do this again. After the procedure, my entourage came into the room to see what was left of me. The only intelligible words I could muster were, “Oh my god, that fucking sucked.”
My doctor said I was the first person to laugh during this procedure. Apparently she didn’t see the clown face tattoos on my back, “Laugh now. Cry later.” She said I did a good job and let me pick one toy from the chest outside. This was the worst experience of my journey so far, but I felt all Ice Cube coming out of there, like I got street cred now. I walked out of the office yellin’, “King Kong ain’t got shit on me!” Then Erica helped walk me to the elevator.