Biopsy 2: Bone Marrow Revenge

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.


13 thoughts on “Biopsy 2: Bone Marrow Revenge

  1. Keep up the laughter! I know this stuff REALLY HURTS. Never give in to the shit. Remember, Diane wants more grandchildren, especially yours!

  2. Jeff. After seeing you the other night one would never think you are going through all this. I kept thinking it would somehow come up. That we would have this deep conversation about how your life is just flipped upside down right now. But you didn’t miss a beat, laughter, conversation, and just you keeping everyone engaged all while we were just hanging out. And just days before all of this. Really? You are inspiring to say the least! I wish you the best but know that something more is needed to get you through this…you are in our prayers, daily!
    Keep this blog going. You are one talented writer.

  3. What’s up Jeff this going to be like were in middle school . Your a great, a great person ,great to be around never change have a great summer well at least what’s left of it .lol. I know that was a lil gay .Man my prayers go out to you Erica and your family . Marc is right after the other night I wouldn’t have even known your going through all of this I wish you well. Thx for all this good reading at times you almost had me in tears just to continue reading and started to laugh . I’m glad your so, positive through all of this cause I don’t think I would have the same courage as you and to share it everybody .If your wondering who this is its big George marc’s friend .

  4. Jeff,

    Your mother taught me the “F” word, so I’m going to use it! You are fucking funny! I love your writing! I sure hope the worst is over and the road ahead is paved with good results and excellent health.

    Loving wishes,

    • Thanks, Shari. You’re supposed to talk about the good things I taught Jeff, like, like, like……..hmmmm……maybe that’s all I taught him. Nevermind.

  5. Wow.. If I would have known that you were this talented or a writer I would have stopped hanging out with you years ago. I put up with all the gourmet cooking over the years, but come on.. You’re a brilliant writer as well? There’s only so much a friend can accept. All kidding a side, you really should consider writing more. You really do have a gift! I have to be honest. I’ve been lagging on reading your blog because it was hard for me. And no, it’s not because I can’t read, jerk! I just hated to read what you were going through and not be able to do a damn thing about it. I may be older and a little more mature now, (Don’t laugh, that’s why I said a little more mature) but a part of me still wanted to punch someone in the face for doing this to you. Unfortunately, cancer doesn’t have a face to punch. The funny thing is, I found that the more I read of your blog, the less angry I was. How can I be angry when I’m laughing? It makes me really happy to see that you are able to add humor to situations that would knock most men to the floor. Just another one of your many talents I guess. I can’t wait until you knock this cancer on it’s ass and you begin writing the next chapter in your life. By the way.. I heard in the next chapter we take over the world!

  6. (I watched the video, Yikes!)

    The next time you’re at the dentist you’ll most likely laugh when they apply the dental anesthesia. I can picture you stopping him/her mid drill and yelling, “Is that all you got?!”

    Anyway, I’m sending good vibes your way always. Be strong Jefe.

  7. Wow Jeffy…this was a good one! You might need to quit your day job. Notice I said “might”! I still need you at work. Miss your face. : )

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