Stories of Cancer
Giving Voice to Real Experiences

Biopsy

Excerpt from ‘Nothing Personal, disturbing undercurrents in cancer care‘, by Mitzi Blennerhassett – Radcliffe Publishing, winner Medical Journalists’ Association Open Book Award (Author’s Note). A patient narrative with a difference, it includes discussion sections after each event looking at what needed to change, with references to better/evidence-based practice.

Dazed into horror-struck silence, I watch the nurse prepare a horse-sized needle. I am going to be spiked to the bed, like a butterfly. They can’t expect me to lie here while they stick that into my groin! I want someone to hold my hand. I want to get up and run. How much will it hurt? But there’s no reassurance. The silence intensifies.

I look away as the needle goes in and he draws fluid from the lump. It isn’t very painful after all, but this fearsome procedure, on top of mounting deceit and multiple shocks, is just too much. A tear has collected in the corner of one eye. Funny that, just the one eye.

My mind is in overdrive, trying to find reason where there is none; to comprehend the incomprehensible.