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Entry 7: BONUS BLOG: Breast Biopsy

This vlog is fairly accurate to the experience of an ultrasound guided core biopsy. However, we did cut some things and change some things during filming. So, here are some additional facts (and corrections) about these kinds of biopsies.

1) The first step in the biopsy prep is actually putting betadine (a sterilizing solution) on the area. I had a whole section in the script about it, because watching a lot of medical shows, I had always wondered what that brownish/orangish solution they smeared on patients was called. FYI: It’s called betadine, and the doctors informed me it was colored because so doctors can easily determine which areas were sterile. According to Dr. Marshall, at one time there was a manufacturer who made a clear version of the solution, but they ended up being sued because of infections that resulted from doctors not knowing where they had sterilized.

Interesting, right? No? My director Regina didn’t think so, either, so we cut it.

2) I lied. The first, first step of this biopsy was removing my bra. However, in this vlog you could see my bra on multiple occasions. I don’t mind running around with my boobs out, because at this point EVERYONE has seen them. When you have breast cancer, you walk into an exam room and the first thing a doctor says is, “take it out.” You’re supposed to just know this means your breast.That said, the other actors in my vlogs are not just colleagues, but friends, and when I can avoid making everyone uncomfortable, I do and I keep on my bra. Usually we do a pretty good job of hiding it. This time, not as much.

3) The popping sound of a hollow needle during a core biopsy is not similar to the wet uncorking pop we put in this vlog (mostly for comedic effect). In reality, it sounds like the punch of a stapler. It is

terribly disconcerting.

4) This vlog script originally ended with Marla giving me post op instructions (keep pressure on the area, use ice packs over the next few days, do not bathe or work out for 24 hours, etc.) and us parting ways.

In the interest of educating others experiencing breast cancer, I wanted to keep in the post-op instructions.

In the interest of storytelling, I wanted to keep in the goodbye (because Marla was a super important part of my journey, and saying good-by to her was somewhat ceremonious). I have not seen Marla again since that day. As evidenced by this vlog, I’ve thought of her often.

In the interest of time, we cut it. We were really rushing to leave the space that day, and felt this ending (while perhaps less factual), delivered a better punch anyway.

5) For a SUPER informative and accurate depiction of an Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy, check out the video HERE. Note that if you click on the video of the “Core Needle Biopsy,” you will be seeing a biopsy with stereotatic mammography. That is not the same as the test I went through. Just… you know… FYI.

In real life, the last couple weeks have been crazy with cancer treatments, but as things start slowing down, expect more blogs and vlogs. Can’t wait to share the rest of this insane experience with everyone! See you next week!

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