Lymph Node Biopsy – My Neck Experience

Today I had a lymph node biopsy in my neck. Ever since being diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, my oncologist makes me get anything that she thinks is suspicious tested. In the back of my mind I have a feeling that she thinks my cancer will return. So, since she is the expert, I try to do what she says even though I may not want to.

For the past year, I’ve had a swollen lymph node in my neck. I’ve had a sonogram every three months but the results were always inconclusive. So my oncologist ordered a biopsy for the lymph node. I was terrified at the idea of a needle going into my neck! What if they missed the lymph node and hit my jugular vein? Yes, I know it sounds extreme but you never know what can happen. I cancelled the appointment twice and felt guilty when she asked me why I hadn’t taken the test. So today, I got showed up for my lymph node biopsy.

talking with nurse before lymph node biopsy
Talking with nurse before biopsy.

Quick and Painless Lymph Node Biopsy

Surprisingly, there was no pain. Well, the Novocain needle hurt and burned but I’m used to that by now. After a minute or so, I was completely numb. I lay on my side and waited. And waited. Suddenly I hear “You’re all done!” and I’m in shock. I felt no pain, no pressure; I didn’t even know they were touching me. And there was no clicking sounds…if you’ve had a biopsy, I’m sure you’re familiar with the Click Click Click sound as they are slicing off a piece of the tumor. The whole procedure took no more than 5 minutes.

painless  neck lymph node biopsy
My husband is my photographer

This experience was great compared to my breast biopsy. I had two tumors in one breast so they had to get a sample from two areas. There was a lot of pressure and quite a bit of bleeding. It took about 30 minutes and I was in pain for several days afterwards. I felt a hint of the pain every now and then for about 6 months.

As I type this blog, I am feeling okay. My neck feels a little tired but there is no real pain. Now its time to wait and be filled with anxiety until I get the results. Fortunately, John Hopkins is really fast so I should know the results in a few days.

I’ll share my results with you when I get them. If any of you are going through this, you’re not alone. Keep positive and do all that you can to take care of yourselves. Even if it means taking another painful and scary test.

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