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Nov 29, 2017 10:23AM
Nov 29, 2017 11:51AM
Hi everyone. Well, I made it through. Parts were better, and parts were worse, than I had hoped. I'm going to write a separate thread about the experience that isn't focused on the PTSD side of things, so as not to worry anyone who doesn't have those kind of issues.
The better parts:
The EMLA cream really helped. I didn't even feel the prick of the needle, and hardly felt the burning of the lidocaine on the L side. Unfortunately not the case for the R side. My dr warned me that being just under the nipple and so close to nerves, it was going to hurt. And it did and they had difficulty with that side, so I had to go through the shot twice (when they decided to come at it from a different angle). But it was bearable and didn't last too long.
Once the lidocaine took effect, I had absolutely no pain at all from the needle, the actual biopsies or the marker insertion.
I took both Ativan and a pain killer, which kept me calm enough to stay still (it took 2.5 hours overall due to the difficulties with the R side). So I was able to make it through both sides!
The worse parts:
I was already very tender from PMS on both sides (rotten timing!!!). Despite Having taken pain medicationin advance, the compression was incredibly painful! Having just been through my mammogram a week before, the only difference was my PMS tenderness and the experience between the two was night and day. We had to take a 15 minute break and I took additional medication. So while the needles and the biopsy itself were almost pain free, the compression was unexpectedly awful. If I had not been on pain meds, I would have had to cancel the whole thing.
I was also surprised by the amount of pulling and stretching and manhandling (no pun intended) of my breast that they had to do to get me placed correctly in the machine (and I have plenty of breast tissue, so that was not the issue). Everyone was lovely and had been told about my issues and they explained everything step by step. But that part was unexpected and emotionally and physically uncomfortable.
The one nurse who was assigned as my “comforter" was very kind and checked in with me and kept me informed. As some others have described, she had her hand on my back the whole time. Unfortunately, despite the fact that I was not moving at all, she kept a really firm pressure on my back that made me feel trapped and pinned down, like she was trying to keep me from escaping. That did trigger my PTSD and was honestly the worst part of the whole procedure for me. I know I could have spoken up and said something, but I was feeling guilty for having already asked for a lot of accommodations and I knew her intentions were kind. So I just clammed up.
So, I didn't really get any sleep last night between nightmares/flashbacks and swapping out ice packs (definitely a really good help for the swelling and discomfort once the lidocaine wore off). But this part is behind me now.
Thank you all for being a supportive place for me to share my particular issues. It is helping more than I can say
dx-12/1/17 DCIS R breast w/microinvasion IDC; ER+/PR borderline+; HER2-