A Different Perspective



Until today I hadn’t really considered what it must be like to be the doctor carrying out a bone marrow biopsy. From a patient’s perspective its obviously not very pleasant and rather painful most of the time but what about for the doctor? Unless they are a sadistic human being I very much doubt they are getting kicks out of it!

So I had my day 180 bone marrow biopsy today, a bit premature as today is day 166, but with my bloods being so low I think they were keen to check on things.

I had a lovely doctor named Gill (or Jill??). Chatty and friendly but no messing around. I was the last person on her list and could tell she was hungry and tired!! I was just trying to keep myself chilled out and chatting to her, even told her to stop rushing around getting things ready as I was happily knitting!!

She did a good biopsy on me. Spent her time finding a spot that wasn’t scarred, as I suggested. And just went for it, no pansying around. As expected gave the odd apology when doing the trephine and got a little sweary. But it was very quick and only painful at the end. My kind of biopsy!

So I said thank you  for doing it good and most importantly getting a decent sample out. But she also said thank you to me. She said I was a “lovely girl” (Not sure I like the girl part being a grown woman of 29….. but I understood the sentiment) and I made her day, but she was sorry it had to be whilst doing a biopsy!

I chatted to my other doctor and said I found it quite funny. But then she explained that she used to find it really hard doing the bone marrow list. The majority of patients would come in terrified/anxious of what was about to happen, either due to being first time or previous bad experiences. Then the doctor is torn between trying not to inflict pain but also get a good sample to test. If you don’t get a good sample its highly likely the patient will have to go through it all again.

So me coming in pretty chilled out, explaining in a nice way what works better for me was a bit of a change for Gill, and probably made that last bone marrow a little easier! I can’t imagine what it is like to have to inflict pain like that on someone. You know its in their best interest, but equally know you have to hurt them. This has made me think a bit more about the BMB process and how the doctor is feeling too; we are both probably as stressed as each other!

N.B. Not all doctors show this amount of empathy whilst giving BMBs so this certainly isn’t a catch all observation!!

On a different note my neutrophils have started to perk up a bit to a soaring 0.3, however this still classifies me as “severely neutropenic” so need to be super careful. My ear infection has gone down dramatically due to my self prescribed antibiotics (don’t do this….. although I saved myself a hospital admission I wouldn’t recommend it. Carmel suggested that I would have been better off on specific antibiotics rather than the general ones I gave myself!! But hey, its all sorted now!!)

Now we are back to the waiting game for the results which will start to trickle in over the next few weeks….. Its at this point I always fear the worse!! Fingers and toes crossed!!!




5 thoughts on “A Different Perspective

  1. Brightened my day again Emma 🙂
    I’m fortunate to have only had a couple of Biopsies, I found that being used to meditating was a great help in calming myself both before and during the procedure.

    Keep on keeping on 🙂

    Kevin x


    1. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve had Kevin. Been having them since I was 17, so 12 years. Some years I would have 4/5 other years none, but it’s only over the last couple of years I have learnt to try and calm myself down for them. I used to get so stressed out by it all as I hated them so much!! Ivs found in a weird way the less stressed I am and the more I just chat to the doctor the less pain I notice! X


  2. marie

    Hi, Soooo good to hear that your neurophils are on the way up – huge relief for you – long may that that continue. I shall keep everything crossed that the marrow looks juicy and has lots of baby ‘everything’ in it! We are lucky, the biopsys that my daughter has had to have (many like you – in fact I think we’ve lost count) are done under a general so she wakes up sore but doesn’t feel the pay. I’ll have a thing about some questions for you – but I think one that springs to mind – is the side effects of the drugs the second time round – were they similar or worse? Sending you my positive thoughts your way Mariex


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