You remember Barbara Beckman from her article Clinical Trial a few months ago. She was on the original Ruxolitinib clinical trial and is making history, her strong and enduring recovery discussed at the current American Society of Hematologists meeting this week. A patient of Dr. Verstovsek she returned from her M.D. Anderson checkup with a tale of painless bone marrow biopsy. Coming from one who should know, this good news just had to be passed on.
How would you like to have a bone marrow biopsy with very little pain?
The newest innovation is a small drill—smaller than your hand—about six inches long. It looks like a regular drill. The one my P.A. used was orange, set in a black holder.
The procedure goes like this. I walk in the room with Rodney, who is the best! He asks me if I would like to have him use something new that has worked out well with techs and patients. I sign the paper giving him permission to use it. I would do anything to escape pain! I thought I was calm, but my blood pressure was up to 176. I ask him to wait a couple of minutes for the lidocaine to take effect. I lie on the table, on my stomach, with my upper hip exposed.
He starts the procedure. The drill sounds like a dentist’s drill. He says he only has to go in once to do both the aspirate and the bone. I feel pain twice, but it is mild. It is over.
As he is applying the bandage, I ask him what type of education he has to have to qualify for this. He says he is a Physician’s Assistant and has a Masters Degree, but the main qualification is to be good with your hands. My blood pressure has gone down 40 degrees. When Rodney walks out of the room, I ask his assistant to show me the drill. I am amused at how small it is—a replica of my husband’s drill. I am able to walk casually out of the room to go to lunch.
Just to establish my credentials—I have had 13 BMBs , with varying degrees of pain. With two of them, done by the same person, the pain was intense. I try to think of myself as brave, but I was left crying during these procedures. I had to be assisted out of the room to a chair because I was shaking so hard. All the others were much better, with pain but pain that I could endure. Don’t be afraid to ask the receptionist to give you someone who is good. It makes all the difference!
Note: Vanessa, the supervisor at MDAC’s Bone Marrow clinic confirms. It’s more the person who knows how to do a BMB than the tool…and Rodney is one of the best. The tool is the FDA approved Vidacare OnControl bone marrow system, released last year and available in “about 100 sites” now.
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