Nothing good can come from hearing the words, “biopsy” and when I heard the doctors had to do a biopsy on my lymph nodes, I was pretty much nervous about the results. Now I have had a biopsy done before, on my liver, and that came out ok in general terms. You see, I drank my liver away in Kosovo in 2006 because I was assigned to the NATO Headquarters which allowed me to consume alcohol. To give you an idea of what the evenings look liked, for the older generations, it’s the movie Animal House, for the younger generations it’s the movie Neighbors.
So my liver biopsy was easy. In fact, it took the nurses and doctors more time to prep me than the actual procedure. The actual procedure was less than a second. I felt a slight pinch on my side and that was it; I was done! But, deep down in my gut, I knew that this biopsy done on my lymph nodes was not going to be as easy. And it wasn’t.
So let me backtrack here for a bit. My doctors wanted to do a biopsy on Monday, however they couldn’t because it was just past 3pm. Apparently, the pathologist is off on Monday’s at 3pm. Coincidently, we were going thru the government shutdown process and my conspiracy mind took over. When my doctor told me they were unable to do the biopsy on Monday, I quickly replied, “damn politicians and the government shutdown.” He laughed. So we had to wait to Wednesday, and no it wasn’t because of the government shutdown as to the reason I wasn’t able to get it on Monday. I think he either has bankers hours or had a tee time at the country club.
So I waited for the pathologist to stroll in with their fancy machine not knowing really what to expect. The pathologist explained how they were going to stick a needle in my lymph nodes and extract some fluid in order to view it under their machine and also to take some samples up to the lab. I was ok with that. I really don’t mind needles as long as it’s not like the one they use on Princess Leia in Star Wars: A New Hope. So the good pathologist asks for his “gun” and I happen to see it and commented with, “you call that a gun!? I played with bigger ones.” Being the old Artillery man that I am, I played with about every artillery system we have in the US Army. Same basic principle in firing pistols and artillery. But it made the pathologist smile a bit and my wife to smile. She explained the whole Artillery bit to the doctor.
So they grabbed the tube with the needle and told me to expect a pinch. I felt nothing. Really, I didn’t feel anything at all. If I did, it was very small like if you pinch yourself as lightly as you can. My wife is freaking out with, “Are you sure you are not feeling anything?” I was like, “yeah, in fact do as many as you want, and if you suck out all the mass all the more better.” The pathologist chimed in with, “Well I might have to hold you on that comment.” And he did. He drew about 3 tubes worth of liquid goo out of my enlarged lymph nodes. The technician kept some samples for further study, and they examined some of the goo under their microscope.
It was during this time they I didn’t really understand Doctor’s speak. If you ever want to learn Doctor’s speak become one because they have their own fancy language; one which I really don’t care for knowing and it was at this point I wish I had. They mentioned the term “carcinoma”, and I had no clue what they said. The technician told the doctor a statement like this, “this plate has some carcinoma cells, can you confirm?” Luckily, my wife, now she learned herself in the ways of the Doctors English and quickly caught on what they were talking about. Me, nope, just a clueless fool making jokes about playing with bigger guns.
When they left, and they were nice about leaving and saying I did a good job and all, my wife informed me then that I have cancer. My life as I knew it, was changing fast.