A bone marrow biopsy is a procedure that involves taking a small sample of bone marrow from your hip or chest bone. Many MPN patients dread this procedure because it can be painful and stressful.
Fortunately, there are some ways to make your bone marrow biopsy more comfortable and less anxiety-provoking. Here are some tips for preparing for your biopsy and coping with discomfort.
Talk to your doctor before the biopsy
One of the best ways to ease your anxiety is to talk to your doctor and ask questions about the biopsy. You can ask:
Why do I need this biopsy?
What will you do with the results?
How will you perform the biopsy?
Will I be sedated or given pain medication?
How long will the biopsy take?
Can someone stay with me during the biopsy?
Knowing what to expect can help you feel more prepared and confident. Your doctor can also address any concerns or fears and reassure you that they will do their best to make you comfortable.
Practice relaxation techniques before and during the biopsy
Relaxation techniques can help you calm your nerves and reduce your pain perception. Some of the methods you can try are:
Meditation: This involves focusing on your breathing, a word, a sound, or an image and letting go of distracting thoughts.
Journaling involves writing down your thoughts and feelings about the biopsy or anything else bothering you. This can help you release negative emotions and gain perspective.
Yoga involves gentle stretches and poses that can relax muscles and improve blood flow.
Deep breathing involves taking slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm and exhaling fully. This can lower your heart rate and blood pressure and ease tension.
Therapy involves talking to a professional counsellor or therapist who can help you cope with your anxiety and stress. They can also teach you coping skills and strategies to deal with difficult situations.
Music: This involves listening to soothing music that can distract you from the pain and create a positive mood. Music can also lower your stress hormones and increase your endorphins, natural painkillers.
You can practice these techniques before your biopsy appointment or during the procedure if you are awake. You can also ask your doctor if you can bring a device to play music or a guided meditation during the biopsy.
Ask for touch therapy if possible
Touch therapy is a complementary medicine that uses gentle touch or massage to promote healing and well-being. Touch therapy can help reduce pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue in people undergoing medical procedures.
Some examples of touch therapy are reflexology and massage.
If you are interested in touch therapy, ask your doctor if they can provide it or allow someone else to do it for you during the biopsy. For example, you can ask if a nurse or a care partner can touch your feet or hold your hand while you undergo the biopsy.
A bone marrow biopsy may not be a pleasant experience, but it mustn't be a nightmare. Following these tips can make your biopsy more comfortable and less stressful. Remember that you are not alone, and there are ways to cope with this procedure. You can do this!
Remember: You are not alone in this journey. You have the power to take charge of your health and well-being.