Last Thursday, I've had yet another fine needle biopsy done on the left side of my neck. Alhamdulillah, although it was slightly painful at the beginning, the procedure went well and I only have Allah to thank for.
This was my third neck biopsy since December 2008. Thinking about what I've gone through for the last one year, I've experienced so many procedures and investigations for the treatment of my condition, some of the major ones being as follow:
1) Three ultrasound-guided biopsy of the neck (December 2008, July 2009, January 2010)
The ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to make a picture of the nodes in the neck. The fine needle is used to take a tissue biopsy of the enlarged nodes in the neck.
2) Two bone marrow biopsy (December 2008, July 2009)
The bone marrow biopsy is to detect for presence of cancerous cells within the bone marrow cavity.
3) Four Computed-Tomography (CT) scan (December 2008, April 2009, July 2009, December 2009)
CT scan helps to visualize the enlarged lymph nodes throughout the body.
4) Three Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan (December 2008, July 2009, January 2010)
Works in tandem with CT scan, assisting in determining whether a node is cancerous or not.
5) Two insertion of Hickman Lines (September 2009, October 2009)
A Hickman line allows insertion of fluids and medication into the body, as well as withdrawing bloods from the blood vessels without having to use needles.
6) Countless cannula insertions and venepunctures
Above all, the one that probably sticks most in my mind was the bone marrow biopsy. It was without a doubt the most uncomfortable experience of all, especially the second one that I had, which in short was quite a bloodied experience.
This video might be a bit too graphic for some people. So do watch at your own risk.
Obviously with all the procedures above, praying for a skilled doctor will help to make each procedure less painful and time-consuming. However, on my part, there are obviously prayers that I read before-hand as every affairs is ultimately in the hands of Allah. Some of them include:
اللَّهُمَّ لا سَهْلَ إلَّا مَا جَعَلْتَهُ سَهْلاً وَ إنْتَ تَحْعَلُ الْحزْنَ إذَا شِئْتَ سَهْلاً
Allahumma la sahla illa ma ja'altu sahla, wa 'anta taj-alul hazna idha shi'ta sahla
1) O Allah! There is nothing easy except what You make easy, and You make the difficult easy if it be Your Will.
Subhanallah, walhamdulillah, wala ilaha illallah, wallahu akbar, wala hawla wala quwwata illa billah
2) Glory be to Allah, All praise is to Allah, there is no god but Allah. There is no power and no strength except in Allah.
The bone marrow biopsy, in particular, left me with a painful, aching back, worst at night for a few months. It kept me awake on some nights as the pain was occasionally unbearable. On top of the painkillers I took, I'll also practice a du'a taught by our Prophet SAW:
Place your hand at the site of the pain and say:
‘In the name of Allaah’ (three times), then supplicate seven times:
(ii) A'udzubillahi waqudrotihi min sharrimaa ajidu wa-ukhodzir
‘I take refuge with Allah and within His omnipotence from the evil that I feel and am wary of.’
All the prayers above are certainly ones we can practice in life, with the hope that we can live under the shade of the teachings of al-Qur'an and as-Sunnah. Never forget Allah in all of our affairs, believe that Allah is our Protector, and that no harm can be done or afflicted if it is not His Will.
The experience of living with pain. There is an old saying, "Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards".