Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008 - Adrenal Biopsy Day

Hiya Bloggy,

Yes, I know it's the evening of April 21st and I'm just getting to post on you, Bloggy, but it was a kind of stressful day and when I got home, I did sleep most of the afternoon away. That being caused by my taking an Ativan first thing in the morning and then another one about 15 minutes before the procedure... so by the time I got home, I was pretty sleepy.

Ok... the morning started with Doug picking my up and we headed off to the Cancer Agency. As luck would have it, the drive went fairly quickly and for some reason there was no road construction to slow things down, which is pretty normal for around the hospital area these days.

Anywho, Doug and I got there in plenty of time, I signed in and shortly after Dr. Bhugrat saw me. He is the Radiologist/doctor who was going to perform the biopsy but first he wanted to show me on the scanned images what/why we were doing the biopsy.

He showed me images from the CAT scans from 2001, 2006 and 2008 of the growth on the right adrenal gland. As far as I could see, there really was not difference... the shape looked the same and the colour looked the same. He then showed me the PET scan image of the same growth and it was lit up in a bright white, which is what has caused the PET scan radiologists to be suspicious and passed it on to my oncologist. She in turn, ordered the blood/urine tests to see if it was safe to go in and do a biopsy on the growth... and it was this biopsy that I had done today.

The procedure is done using the CAT scan machine. First he froze the area with a local anesthetic. I was on my stomach at this time. He then inserted a needle so far, then I would be slid into the CAT machine, a picture taken, then slid out again. This went on a few times until he said that the position I was in, my lung was too close to where he was going to insert the needle into the growth, so he wanted me to change positions so I was on my side... and we'd start all over again.

So again, it was a matter of re-freezing the area, inserting a needle, sliding me in and out of the machine and re-positioning the needle. This time he got it in and had to do it a few times because they wanted a few different samples. This went to the pathologist from the lab who was in the room as well and he prepared the slides, which would then be taken to the lab for analyzing.

The procedure took just over an hour. Pain? Hmmm... I'm not sure there was that much pain, although there was discomfort alright. The needle had to go through tissue and muscle matter, so I can expect to be sore for a few days.

We now have to wait until Monday to get the results and there's really no way the Radiologist could tell me one way or the other which way we are leaning. Adrenal cancer is very rare. Colon Cancer spreading to the adrenals is not common. So it's not like they have a lot of cases that they can compare this too, which is why my case is kind of complicated. On the other hand, I have had the growth there for some time. Does that work for or against me? Hard to say. Should it have come out years ago so it isn't there to become infected, or by removing it, would that just invite a new tumour to grow there from the spread... they don't know.

The unknowns are just too numerous to contemplate the "what ifs", but the biopsy results should tell us what we are dealing with. As I have said all along, if it's benign, I am going to be shouting from the rooftops and will be soooo excited!! I know we will still have to deal with lung surgery, but that will be something I have no qualms about. If it's malignant, then it's a road I just don't want to go down.

So even though the biopsy has now been done and the cells have been harvested, I once again am asking everyone to still send warm, positive thoughts my way! Send those thoughts that when I go to see the doctor for the results of the test that it is GOOD news we receive and GOOD results as to what our next steps are going to be. No bad news or negative news is acceptable.

Thanks everyone... keep hanging in there for me!!!

And for all you 1973 Grads who may just be tuning in to the blog now, Welcome!!! Hello!!! Long time no see!! And by all means, everyone can email me ( at anytime. If I don't get back to you right away, don't take it personally... I've been a little slow keeping up with the blog and email.... and let's see, I think this week I'll blame it on the meds. Until I can come up with a better excuse :)

Love ya!!!


Sunday, April 20, 1008 -- Biopsy Eve

Hiya Bloggy,

I just want to thank everyone who has sent me positive thoughts and good wishes for tomorrow morning's biopsy. My friend, Doug K. will be picking me up at 9am (ok, picking up is pushing it... he will be driving his car out of his parking space and pulling it out front of mine, since we are just across the street from each other). We have to be at the Cancer Agency at 9:30am for a 10am procedure. I have to drink 500ml of water before I leave home and I'm sure they will get me to drink more once I'm there since the procedure is done with the guidance of a CAT Scan machine. The procedure itself, will only take 30-40 minutes. They will be giving me a local anesthetic and then inserting a fine needle into the adrenal growth to capture cells from it... and it will be these cells that will be sent off to the lab for analyzing. I'm not sure if that is the lab at the Cancer Agency or if they send them off to Vancouver General Hospital. It should take a week to get the results back, so I have an appt. with Dr. Gill (oncologist) in the afternoon on Monday, April 28th.

This is going to be one very long week for me, so I'm not proud... I have no problems asking all of you, my friends and family, to please think positive thoughts. Surround the right adrenal gland (small gland just above the right kidney) with warm, white light. Granted, once the cells have been harvested, one would think it's a done deal... they are what they are. But I firmly believe that thoughts can be so powerful they can change things even when it seems impossible. When it comes to thoughts, nothing is impossible. So anytime you think of me this week, even though the procedure will be over by 11am tomorrow, keep thinking those positive thoughts that the cells they have collected are benign.

I know all of your thoughts combined make for one heck of a powerful force. You were all there for me when we went through the surgery and they weren't sure I was going to be able to come out of the hospital... I know it was our combined positive energy that not only made that possible, but made it possible for me to get through the 8 months of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation with my humour still intact.

So let's do it again, gang! Let's prove that this little old (and I mean old, it's over 7 years old) adrenal growth is just a common benign growth. Once we have that taken care of, then getting through the lung surgery should be a piece of cake :)

Thanks, everyone!!