Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bone Marrow Extraction

I wanted/needed to write about this while it was still fresh and while I remembered what happened. I am warning in advance in case you are squeamish cause well bone marrow extraction is not for the squeamish of heart or stomach!

The nurse I had, Natalie - ROCKED. She was so kind and she was right there for me the whole time. She was an angel sent from Heaven - seriously. Even thinking of her and how amazing she was makes my heart leap with joy and tears come to my eyes. She was that great!

The "procedure" was scheduled for 1:30 pm. Dr. Nibbley walked in the room at 1:28. I told him that my husband really wanted to be there as I was dialing Ben's number to make sure he was there. Ben's voice was frantic and my heart was breaking for him. I can't imagine how he felt. Honestly, it was hard having me go through it. If we were going through this for him or one of the girls, I would have been a basket case!!!! Ben was just luckily just pulling into the hospital.

I told Dr. N that Ben wanted to be there and he said that was fine, we would just start the prepping. The procedure was being done in my room. This is not the norm but it was what was best for me. Let me tell ya - my room was all the buzz on the floor and many nurses were jealous of my amazing nurse and that she got to witness and help in a bone marrow procedure. I never got from her that she thought the procedure was cool or that was the reason she was there....honestly I always felt like she was there for me.

The reason my bone marrow extraction took place in my room has to do with radiation. My body has been subjected to a LOT of it recently. Even though a CT scan emits very little radiation, several of them in a short time can add up. The night before my procedure I had a blessing. In the blessing, I was told that the doctors doing the procedure and helping me get better would be lead, guided and directed by the Spirit. The morning of my procedure Dr. McKinley came in the room and said in the night he woke up with the thought that I would be better off without the radiation. He asked what I wanted to do because it was up to me in the end.

I thought it over a lot because with the CT scan I would be put out, without the CT scan I would be awake and aware of the procedure. I thought of my blessing and KNEW that Heavenly Father had inspired Dr. M regarding this and that I should go without the CT scan. I KNOW that Dr. M and Dr. N were being guided and directed by the Holy Ghost through the whole process. Twice during my stay in the hospital I had Dr. M come to me and say he was woken up or he had been thinking of me. He even called during the night one night.

Dr. N had me lay on my right side because due to the room lay out taking it from my left him was the easiest. He showed me where he would be inserting the needle (which is more like a metal straw than needle) and what would happen. He made a spot in the room for Ben - which I was sooooo impressed with. He was so supportive and kind for Ben being there.

They started by giving me adavain and morphine. I watched as the medicine moved through the IV pic line and I could actually see it move towards my body. The fluid was thicker than the normal saline fluid to my body. The doctor said he would explain as he went and he did a pretty good job of doing just that. I don't know how to explain the procedure exactly. I felt a prick and some stinging from the local anesthetic. I didn't feel him cut me with the scalpel due to the anesthetic.

I did feel when the needle hit the bone. He told me I would feel pressure. Pressure is a good word if you add it with the word "pain". :) In some ways it was the same pressure you would have during an epidural but you aren't having a worse pain from a contraction to counter the pain from it. I felt the pressure and that wasn't bad until it send nerve pains shooting down my leg. I think that was when he was extracting the first bone marrow. He had to extract 2 tubes and then take a "sample" of my bone.

At this point, they gave me more morphine (no clue how much but I am sure that I got quite a bit during this because they gave me 2 bottles of it before the procedure). My sweet nurse had to leave my side long enough to get that morphine for me and give it to me. She gave it through the close IV port so that my body got it fast. This was also the time the doctor said he may have to wait and put off until they could do it in the lab and put me out fully. I think I said try it one more time, I know I thought it.

My bones were thin. This obviously isn't a good thing and it made it that he had to go to another site for the second extraction. I once again felt the pressure as he went through and I cried and grabbed for the bar on the bed. That is when I found my nurses hand. Even thinking of that makes me cry because I was sitting wishing that I could be squeezing Ben's hand that he was right next to me, not across behind the doctor from me. That hand was EVERYTHING. It was human touch. I squeezed and she told me to squeeze as hard as I would like and I did!! It was during this pain they finished. I was done.

Dr. N spoke during the whole process but honestly I don't remember a lot of what he said other than, "maybe we should try another time", "her bones are thin", or "I have reached the bone". Ben remembers all the cool things like, "We know it's not spiked cell leukemia because these cells don't have a spiked look to them" and stuff like that.

A band-aid was all that was needed to cover such a huge immense owie! He didn't even need to put a stitch in the wound even though it was big enough it could have used one.

I thought that the procedure must have been pretty bloodless even with being bone marrow because I didn't see any blood in the aftermath. Ben informed me there was a LOT of blood and he almost passed out and was grateful for a chair!

I was also VERY out of it after the procedure for a while. I told Ben to call people that needed called and then when he got off the phone call with them, a few minutes later I would tell him he needed to call those same people. He laughed at me lots.

I have no clue what the results will hold but I feel good about it all. Dr. M has put me on some pretty heavy calcium to get my bones thicker. Dr. N is going to call us into his office this week to discuss the results. The waiting for that seems like FOREVER!

As we left the hospital on Saturday, I once again had been given my Heaven sent nurse. I can not express the love I have for her! Absolutely amazing lady!!! I am so glad she was there for me and to bless my life! As we left the hospital she was saying the Dr. N is one of the best in the State and very sought after so if I do need an oncologist/hematologist he is one of the best I could get.

Through this I have been blessed. VERY BLESSED. I am blessed with the best husband in the world, the best children, the best family. I have been blessed with the best doctors and nurses. My Heavenly Father has been leading and guiding me, Ben and my doctors through this whole process. I am a blessed woman. Even with the fear of what could come, I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for me, my life is a gift and through my faith my family will grow and be blessed.


  1. Super scary!!! I've been praying for you and hope things are okay. Love you girl!

  2. I was thinking about you all week!! Glad you're home and that it's over..Good luck with the results. Keep me updated :)

  3. OUCH! I think nurses are awesome. I'm glad you had a great one. And although I cringed reading about the procedure, it was very interesting to learn about. I hope they figure things out soon and you don't have to endure anything like that again!