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14
WHAT THE C?!? /// CHAPTER 10
local anesthetic will sting at first. A biopsy needle is then
inserted through your hip bone into your bone marrow
and a small amount of bone marrow is pulled up into a
syringe for testing. Again, if you're not asleep, you may
feel some pressure and pain as the needle is pushed into
your bone.
Once the bone marrow is extracted, a new needle will
be placed in the same hole to get a small specimen of
bone for further testing. The needle is pressed forward
and rotated in both directions. This forces a tiny sample
of bone into the needle. If a good sample is not taken,
the doctor or nurse doing the procedure may need to
try again. The needle is then removed and a pressure
bandage (to stop bleeding) is applied.
A laboratory technician will examine the bone marrow
and prepare a report for your doctor. This usually takes a
few days.
Your back may be sore for a few days. Tylenol or other
pain meds may help relieve the soreness. If you have lots
of bone marrow biopsies throughout your treatment, your
doctor or nurse will try to alternate sides to reduce scar
tissue build up.
» MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scan
Most MRI scans take between 30 and 90 minutes. Your
only job is to remain completely still because even
slight movement can spoil the images. During the scan
you will hear a variety of sounds such as humming and
hammering. It may sound like the technician is hitting
the side of the scanner with a large hammer. These
sounds are normal. You may be given earplugs or stereo
headphones to muffle the noise and in most MRI centers
you can bring in an iPod, but don't be surprised if the
music is drowned out by the noise.
You may be given 'contrast' solution during your MRI.
This is a liquid that you either drink or is injected into
one of your veins through an intravenous line (IV) and it
helps the doctors and radiologists to see the different
structures and blood vessels.
Other than maybe being a little uncomfortable (and
loud!), an MRI is completely painless (except if you need
an IV put in for the contrast) and you should have no side
effects to worry about.
» CT (Computerized Tomography) Scan
CT Scans (also known as CAT Scans) combine X-Rays
and computers to produce very detailed cross sectional
images of your body. Depending on what part of your
body is to be scanned, you may be given 'contrast'
solution to make things show up better on the scan.
The good thing about CTs is that they are quick, but you
need to lie very still to get a good scan. After the scan
is done, it can be computer reconstructed to show 3D
images of the part of your body that was scanned.
Because the machine produces X-Rays, the technician is
in a separate room near the computer, but can talk with
you through an intercom. You will probably be alone in
the room, unless you request that someone be with you.
That person will need to wear a lead vest to protect them
from the X-Rays.
» PET (Positron Emission Tomography)
Positron emission tomography is a functional imaging
technique that uses radioactive substances known
as radiotracers to visualize and measure changes
in metabolic processes, and in other physiological
activities including blood flow, regional chemical
composition, and absorption.
Cancer cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal
cells. Because of this, during a PET scan, cancer cells
will light up as bright spots to help with detection if the
treatment is working or if there is growth in the cells.
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What Do I Do Now?

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