Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Liver Biopsy Experience

As recently as two weeks ago, I didn't think I'd be writing this entry. But it turns out that I needed a liver biopsy on Jan. 23 in yet another step to definitively rule out amyloidosis.

The biopsy went well, and I attribute that to two things:

1. Drugs
2. Led Zeppelin

Here's what happened. We arrived at UM at 7:30 a.m. and they quickly took me back to prep. I had one goal: convince the doctor to give me some type of drug. Anything. Two nurses told me what I already knew -- that they don't like to give sedation for a liver biopsy because you have to be able to follow commands during the procedure and breathe in and out when asked. I was polite and listened but remained firm in my resolve. So they paged the doctor and asked, and he agreed to give me 2 mg of Midazolam through my IV. Yes!

When they rolled me into the procedure room, the doctor was in there listening to Led Zeppelin and preparing for the biopsy. It was awesome. I felt so happy about the vibe in the room. The doctor was smiling, the nurses were talking to me about classic rock and the albums and 8-track tapes that we had as kids, and I was in such a good mood that I almost forgot that someone was about to stick a needle into one of my major organs.

The doctor explained everything to me as he was preparing the site. He used ultrasound and also percussion (tapping) to find the right spot. He had me practice how he wanted me to breathe. But I really don't remember a lot about the procedure once the Midazolam was administered. I did feel the needle that numbed the biopsy site, and I did feel the needle that went into my liver to get the sample. It was a sharp pain but a 36 mm piece of tissue was quickly removed and then it was over. The official paperwork states that I was brought into the room at 8:21 a.m. and the procedure was complete at 8:46 a.m.

They had me lie on my right side for 30 minutes in the recovery room before letting me lie on my back for two hours. I was discharged at 11:30 a.m.

On the Giffy Suckage Scale, this liver biopsy wasn't bad at all. It's been three days and I'm still a bit sore, but I've had no complications.