Bone Marrow Biopsy

I’m home, resting, but just wanted to post these videos. If you’re squeamish, I’d recommend not watching. The video is in 2 parts. My husband recorded this for me. Part One and Part Two.


Nap time now

Remember, you are your own best advocate. If you do not take care of yourself, who will?

Until next time,


To ease my anxious brain…

I’ve been thinking too much about the biopsy on Friday, and making myself nervous. I’m the kind of person who feels more comfortable with situations when I fully understand them, or can explain them fully to someone else – so please bare with me while I do that now with regard to bone marrow biopsies/aspirations 🙂

A bone marrow biopsy is used as diagnostic criteria for blood, and or bone marrow diseases, and some cancers. Typically the sample will be drawn from either the pelvic, or the breast bone.

The bone marrow aspiration is typically performed before the biopsy is done. This is performed by inserting a needle into the bone, and using a syringe to withdraw some liquid marrow. Another needle will be used for the biopsy portion of the event.

The biopsy itself involves the removal of the solid portion of bone marrow. This is done using a larger gauge needle. Once the large needle has been inserted into the bone, the center of the needle is removed, and the hollowed portion is pushed deeper into the bone. This hollow section of needle is what captures the sample of core, or marrow required for testing. 

A wide variety of diseases can be diagnosed using these tests, including but not limited to a plethora of types of leukemia, or lymphoma, multiple myeloma, my personal favorite (just kidding…) essential thrombocytosis, myelofibrosis (What we’re on the lookout for) and myelodysplastic syndrome. 

Now, here’s where I start getting amused. The information I’m using for source material (which I will cite at the end of this article, I promise) was undoubtedly written by someone who has never experienced this test. Under the “How the test will feel” section…they say “you MAY feel a brief, sharp pain when the liquid (aspirate) is removed”…to me that was kind of like when the gynecologist says “Now just a little pressure now…” (my gynecologist is a guy…pretty sure he doesn’t actually have a clue what a speculum feels like…) but back to the subject….As someone who has had this done without anesthetic, I can assure you it was NOT brief. It was a LONG sharp pain, which seemed to radiate down my legs, and up my spine.

Thankfully I will be receiving some anesthesia/pain relief for this test. OK…I’ll end now with this little info picture for anyone who may be curious about the anatomy of your bone marrow 🙂81

Information for this article was gathered here  and here


As always, you are your own best advocate. If you do not take care of yourself, who will?

Until next time, 



Upcoming adventure…

So I had an appointment with my hem/onc this past Wednesday (8/20). As is customary at these appointments, the physical exam was performed by a med student. Pretty sure that other than the handshakes at the beginning and end of the appointment that my doc has not touched me once in the 8 years I’ve been seeing him. Is that what it’s like for you guys too? Just curious 🙂

Anywho…after listening to my heart and lungs, he decided it was time to poke around my abdomen. He lifted up my shirt, and just sort of stared at my belly for a bit. I think I mentioned before that the ribs on the left side are pretty distended/misshapen, presumably because of the size of my spleen. But this guy was surprised by that. As he starts poking around he’s trying hard to find the end of my spleen…he finally seemed satisfied that he had found it. Down by my navel…Now for those who may be unfamiliar with where ones spleen normally should be……The spleen is on the upper left side of your abdomen. Generally completely housed by your rib cage. See image below…


As he was poking around trying to find it, he seemed very surprised that it was as large as it is. How do I know? He muttered “holy shit” under his breath…soo yeah. Fairly indicative of surprise, I’d say. 

After he was done with the physical exam, he went and conferred with my doc. When he came in, we exchanged the usual pleasantries. He asked how I am, how’s work, how’s my husband etc etc. Then he starts in with “So how are you feeling…?”. At which point I pulled out The Infamous Binder, flipped to my “new/recurring symptoms” section. There is a lovely long list of things – Headaches, fatigue of course at the top, but also Night sweats, itching, fevers, body aches, bone and join pain etc etc. And as I’m reading off my list, I can tell he’s thinking about what he’s going to say, so I finished my list with “And I think that it might be a really good idea to get a new biopsy done, since all these changes, plus the lowering blood counts seem to be indicative of something new”. And he just nodded, and said he felt that was the best course of action. If nothing else we’ll get a new baseline. PLUS we’ll get the results of the genetic testing that I’ve been curious about for so long 🙂

So, this Friday (8/29) I’ll be going in for my 2nd bone marrow biopsy. I WILL get some sedation for this, thankfully. The first one I ever had was pretty awful. Just a local to numb the skin…nothing more. That was not cool. We should get the results by the following Friday.

I’m thinking about attempting to either tweet or blog DURING the biopsy (if they allow it, and if I’m not too goofy…) We’ll see how that goes. M will be there, and has agreed to take pictures for me. I’m one of those weirdos who is REALLY intrigued by medical procedures, especially when they are being done to me. 

But that is enough rambling from me for now.

You are your own best advocate, if you do not take care of yourself, who will?

Until next time,


Migraine – Question for MPN patients

So today is the 3rd day of a terrible migraine. Started with visual aura as always – picture the fractals of a broken mirror, and brightly colored, chaser style Christmas lights along the edges of each. This typically takes over my vision entirely. Starts out small, then increases to the point of not being able to see at all. After that my peripheral vision is usually gone for the rest of the day, on whichever side the aura started. Wednesday it started on the right, so my right side peripheral vision was gone the rest of the day. Which made driving home from work quite the (ill advised) adventure. I did go to work Thursday morning, but by 10 AM I couldn’t take it. The pain was really bad. Now I have a pretty darn high pain tolerance, so when I say it hurts, I mean to the point of being in tears, hurts. Thankfully I have a very wonderful boss, who could see how miserable I was and let me go home. I got home yesterday, slept pretty much all afternoon, the short spans during which I was awake, were very painful, spent mostly either crying or vomiting. The pain was (still is) terrible. One of the worst migraines I can remember having. The last one that was this bad, I was still living at home, and my mom actually took me to the E.R. 

I finally broke down and took a vicodin in hopes that it would help. All it really succeeded in doing is making me feel really dumb. Migraines make me stupid to begin with, add something like that and I’m totally useless. 

So now, getting to the point – My question for ET patients specifically – Do you all have migraines like this? Is this an ET thing?

Off to bed for now.

You are your own best advocate, if you don’t take care of yourself, who will?

 Until next time,