And so it had arrived, the day of the biopsy. I still had a doubt in my head as to weather or not the doctors would do it. I wanted to believe that I was okay and that I might not need the biopsy after all. That it was all somehow a big mistake and that my life could now go back to normal.
At 2pm, Dave and I arrived in CUH for the appointment. I felt vulnerable, as if I had no control over anything. Dr. Norma Relihan and Breast Care Nurse Norma Downing took us into an examination room. Dr. Norma was professional and friendly. She explained that she would initially do an ultrasound on my breast. So I lay down and the examination begain. It was straightforward and pain free. However, she did find a lump under my right arm and this was the another indication that something serious might be wrong. She was so polite and explained that I would definately need a biopsy that day. I was completely overwhelmed at that stage and the tears started. I knew something was wrong. I just knew by her manner. It was as if she knew that I had cancer but could not say it. I felt like a child. I was glad Dave was with me to support me. The nurse brought me into a lovely family room and comforted me.
Then I was brought into another examination room where Dr. Max Ryan performed an ultrasound biopsy on my breast. Again, this procedure was fairly straight forward. He used the ultrasound to guide where he inserted the niddle and took the breast samples from. He also took samples from the lump under my arm. He was compassionate and very reassuring.
And next was the core niddle biopsy. This was more traumatic to be honest. Basically, lots of local anesthic is injected into your breast, then your breast is squashed into the mammogram machine and samples are taken from the breast tissue. It took roughly an hour, lots of samples were taken, many injections were given, and I was quite upset by the whole procedure. The niddle's used are larger that the one's used for the ultrasound biopsy. The staff were amazing and helped me through it every step of the way. It is amazing what goes through your head when a biopsy like that is being performed.
The reason that both biopsy's were performed on me was because as I live in Castletownbere, which is a two hour drive from the hospital, the doctors wanted to get as many samples as possible to make a diagnosis, without having to bring me back into hospital for more biopsies.
And so the biopsy's were done. I was weak after the whole ordeal. The shock of it all I guess. I had to be helped out to the bathroom afterwards as I was dizzy. Then the staff brought me into a relaxing room and gave me tea and biscuts to help me come around abit. They had been giving poor Dave tea and biscuts all evening. It was now 5 o'clock and I felt shattered.
The whole biopsy seems like a dream in many ways. It confirms your worst fears that something serious might be wrong. But, statistically, 9 out of 10 biopsy's are cancer free. The waiting is horrendous. Your life is on hold awaiting those results.
My right breast was brused for 4 weeks after the biopsy. It looked awful. However, considering how bad it looked, it was not painful.
How do you live a normal life waiting for biopsy results? I already felt as if my life had changed.