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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Biopsies and The Singing Anesthesiologists

Someone asked me about the Singing Anesthesiologists link. My sister-in-law's sister sent that to me. It was just a coincidence that she sent it after my biopsy in April. Somewhere it indicated the anesthesiologists were from Minneapolis and I thought I recognized one of them so naturally I wanted to include them on my blog. Turns out I was wrong. None of them was involved in my biopsy and they are from St. Paul. And apparently they aren't anesthesiologists but rather nurse anesthetists. But I thought the clip was funny and they're not bad.

The biopsy was before I started the blog so I thought I'd backtrack a little. I was hoping (expected?) it would show the lymphoma was the same follicular lymphoma I'd had for years and my treatment would be more along the lines of Rituxan which is a pretty mild form of chemotherapy. But it morphed into a large B-Cell lymphoma and a different, more aggressive treatment plan was required.

I have had three biopsies. In 1996 a mass was found but the biopsy turned out to be benign (probably not a good diagnosis). They did a mediastinoscopy and made an incision below my neck. They take a probe and collect tissue in front of the lungs. Relatively simple and a 3" scar.

The second biopsy was in 1998 after an X-ray showed the mass had doubled in size since 1996. This time there were 3 incisions - one for a scope (camera), one to collect the tissue, and one for a chest tube to help re-inflate the lung. They went through my right side to collect the tissue and got a larger sample for analysis. My lung had to be deflated to get to the mass. A little more invasive and three 1" scars.

The third biopsy was in April - April Fools Day. Somehow that seemed appropriate. Apparently surgeons don't like to take the same route. This time they went through my chest. The idea was to make an incision, go through the ribs, wiggle around the lung, get the tissue, and retreat. Turned out they had to remove a little cartilage between the ribs, deflate the lung, get the tissue, and insert a chest tube. Two scars, one about 1" and one about 4". I was surprised when I saw the 4" scar. April Fools!

I want to say the surgeon was great and did both biopsies #2 and 3 and got good samples. About two weeks later he put in a port for infusion of my chemo drugs. We are pretty much on a first name basis now. Big bump and 1.5" scar from the port.

I don't think I'll be taking my shirt off in public much anymore. I look like I've been in a knife fight and didn't do too well. My scars almost form the "Mark of Zorro" and with a little pre-planning I think the surgeon could have made an artistic statement. Perhaps surgeons should consult with tattoo artists to really surprise and delight their patients.

My son has a tattoo. It's a roman numeral 13 (XIII) on his upper left chest just below the collarbone. It's where my port is. I hope his tattoo always remains undisturbed.

Eat Good Food, Be Kind, Tell the Truth
Click below for the collection of recipes or for an easy to print copy of a single recipe.

Collection of Recipes

Omelet: The Lincoln Del in Minneapolis used to have a cream cheese and corned beef omelette. I can't have aged or preserved meats so I made mine with cream cheese, onions, green peppers, and a chopped up hot dog (uncured).

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