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Bone Marrow tests and getting prepared for chemo

Posted by
21 Mar 2016

Bone marrow test

Ah the bone marrow test! I had heard it was really painful, so I asked the question that probably millions before me had asked.... why the hell am I conscious? Why don't you do it under anesthetic? There's no real point came the response from my consultant, it only takes five minutes; no real point?? For who? How many bone marrow tests had he had? "None" came the reply. But I was promised I would walk in and walk out, I had better I said, and given my current 'secret' status it really was a necessity.

Now if I said it was painless I would be a liar, and five minutes was not quite accurate it was more like fifteen in total, but to be honest I've had worse and true to my oncologists words I walked in and I walked out.  I have been asked if there's any advice I would give on how to deal with this procedure, I think I would start with never, ever, google it!!  I mean why? You can't see what's going on as you are on your side while it is taken from your hip, and to be blunt it's happening whether you like it or not, so I found something to talk about and kept talking until it was over.

My discussion was about tattoos, I have one on my back and I was really not keen on having holes in it!  Although I did joke that I had considered having a target tattooed so that my doctor would have somewhere to aim.

Treatment planning & food do's and don'ts!

So finally here we were setting the date, but there are, however, a few things that need to be gone through, things that to be honest would have never entered my head....food for a start! There were things that would be off of the menu for the duration of my treatment....rice was one to be avoided, and no raw fish…or raw anything really for that matter.  No soft unpasteurized cheese, or probiotic yogurt. All meat had to be well done, nothing under cooked and all fruit and veg washed, but good news, wine in small quantities was 'OK'

I was also given a small A5 size folder, it contained my drug regime, contact numbers and what to do if at any point during my journey my temperature went over the magic number of 37.5, or below 37.0 for that matter, as apparently a sudden drop in temperature can be an indicator of an infection lurking in your body.  However I am now fully aware that my body’s normal is about 36.9 degrees… so where did that leave me!!!  For the first round of treatment this caused me some considerable concern, and throughout 2012, this folder and a digital thermometer would, without any apology, become my constant companions. 

So with more information than my struggling brain could deal with, my weight and blood pressure checked and armed with the griping 'guide to blood cancers' I left to embark upon the course of treatment that would hopefully save my life.

Read more about Wendy's preparation for chemo treatment

Find out more about the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma



Me again Wendy. My sister has had a fine needle bone marrow biopsy for other reasons than Non Hodgkins  and tells me it hurts like hell and I'm due for mine next Wednesday and not looking forward to it. I will have to grin and bear it. I can imagine that the assistants and nurses keep you chatting to try and take your mind of it. Apparently they keep pumping the anesthetic on entry but can't when they reach the bone and then it is supposed to be painful (that's what my Doctor at my diagnosis told me anyway). They avoid the general anesthetic because that is always risky apparently. I'll have a serious word with myself before I go in and just hope.  Thanks for the info. it is really helpful for us scaredy cats who have yet to face all this.  Good on you and the best of luck. Thanks,  Bill G.


Hello Wend, had my bone marrow biopsy today and not as bad as expected. They do push and shove a bit and you might be forgiven they were looking for diamonds or oil but it didn't last that long and the nurses were brilliant. Waiting for results now and hoping nothing is found so I will stay at grade 3 and not 4. Who wants to be extranodal?  Your description helped a lot as it was exactly the way mine went, and even the chap next to me was laughing because I repeated everything he had said during his which was ten minutes or so before my own. Thanks again for your info. it has helped me through a very nervous time, dreaded chemo next and your report on that has given me an insight into what to expect.  All the best,  Bill.  PS I know what the ground must feel like when it's fracked.

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