We entered the imaging center for my Savi Scout marker placement in my tumor. Scout is a radar localization chip and device that increases the accuracy of lumpectomies. I had anticipated that the procedure would be similar to the biopsy as it would involve finding the tumor and inserting the radar chip into the core of the tumor. Because my biopsy had gone so well I was not overly anxious about the procedure.
Our waiting room was filled with pregnant women. After meeting with the financial person to check my insurance I was culled from what I named "the room of hope" to a separate waiting area that was designated for women with breast cancer, "the room of doom". My husband and I sat in the empty waiting room for several minutes with medical staff arriving for work and briefly glancing our way or ignoring us which further enforced our "special status" as guests in the room of doom.
A warm and empathic imaging technician was waiting on the radiologist to begin the procedure but didn't want me to continue waiting so she completed my intake. I was surprised that the procedure involved a mammogram machine with a chair! This was my first clue that this was going to be different from the biopsy where I was lying on a comfortable bed with low lighting and soft, relaxing music playing in the background. I was now in a medical "industrial complex" type of room filled with sophisticated Hologic mammogram equipment.
After sitting in the chair, the technician helped to position me on the mammogram machine so that the tumor was clearly displayed and placed a mammogram tray with a square opening over the top of my tumor site. When the radiologist arrived the site was deadened and the Scout was inserted. The discomfort was less than the biopsy.
The surprise occurred at the end of the procedure as the radiologist hit a vein causing excessive bleeding, externally and internally. It took minutes to get the bleeding under control including me cupping my hand at my waist to catch blood as it ran down my side.
After the radiologist departed, the technician took me into a separate room to ensure the Scout signal could be found. She pressed the wand into the area of the tumor . . . nothing. She continued moving the wand around . . . no signal. After minutes of trying we both became anxious - I'm wondering if the chip if faulty, if the wand is plugged in - anything to explain the silence. And then, a "click"! The chip was signaling. And then, silence. The tech rebooted the equipment, both of us desperate for a strong signal. And then, another "click"! We were unable to get anything further and concluded that the pool of blood inside my breast was blocking the Scout signal.
With a promise to alert my surgeon that she would need to be patient in securing the initial signal and a hug from the technician for the ordeal, I left the procedure room and climbed into the car with my husband. The trauma of unexpected blood loss, the pressure applied to the insertion site to stop the bleeding, the persistent probing to find the signal, and the lack of signal were overwhelming. I dissolved into tears!