Tamoxifen-related uterine biopsies

I wish I didn’t have to keep telling this story, but the problem is that women don’t even know there IS a problem until they’re lying on a table with their legs spread, screaming in pain.  It doesn’t have to happen that way.  All you have to do is say “I would like an anesthetic.”  If they try to talk you out of it, tell them that’s the only way you’ll consent to the procedure.  If they still say no, find another provider.

Can you imagine a man having a prostate biopsy without an anesthetic?…Nor can I.  And yet the head of the Ob-Gyn Department at UCLA told me that at their clinic, biopsies without anesthetic are “the standard of care.” UCLA is not the only perpetrator of this kind of torture; I’ve heard from a number of women that they had the no-anesthetic biopsy experience, and it was excruciatingly painful.

It happens because women don’t know they have to ask for an anesthetic.  Apparently, uterine biopsies aren’t all that common.  But the drug tamoxifen, which is often prescribed for women with estrogen-positive breast cancer, can cause uterine problems, even cancer of the uterus.  That’s where the uterine biopsy entered my life.

UCLA is a State of California institution, yet their Ob-Gyn clinic has the option of rejecting Medicare and MediCal (but that’s another issue).  If you have acceptable insurance, you can have your biopsy at UCLA as a day patient, complete with anesthesia.  You don’t even have to ask, which is a good thing, because who thinks of asking if a hospital is going to inflict that degree of pain?  If you’re a clinic patient, the procedure is not accompanied by anesthetic unless you ask, and even then, I was told by the chief of the Ob-Gyn department that he “guessed” I could have an anesthetic, if I insisted.  But only if I insisted.  Because they didn’t even get enough tissue on the first go-around.  They actually thought I was going to come back for more of the same.

I had an illegal abortion in the 1960s.  It was done on a Wednesday afternoon in Chicago, by an ob-gyn, in his office, without anesthetic.  At the time, there was good reason.  If anything had gone wrong, I would have to have taken myself to a hospital emergency room, because if the doctor who performed the abortion admitted me, he would have gone to prison.  I made the deal willingly.  It hurt like hell, but at least I was ready for it.

I never thought I’d ever experience that degree of pain again, but the uterine biopsy I had at the UCLA clinic brought it all back.  They can call it whatever they want, but I call the procedure a D&C without anesthetic, the same as that abortion.

I tried to contact someone at the Komen organization about this, because they certainly have the media contacts to make this a front-burner issue, and this procedure is breast cancer-related.  The Komen people never acknowledged my calls.  But my failure to get anywhere with them shouldn’t dissuade others from trying.  Or from reaching out to any media contacts you have.  There is no excuse for causing women the kind of unnecessary suffering they’ll experience, if they don’t have an anesthetic when they have a uterine biopsy.  If any hospital claims that’s not part of their standard of care, they should be shamed into putting women before the few dollars they save by denying anesthesia.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • RSS
  • Twitter

7 Responses to “Tamoxifen-related uterine biopsies”

  1. Skywalkr says:

    You have to express more your opinion to attract more readers, because just a video or plain text without any personal approach is not that valuable. But it is just form my point of view

  2. admin says:

    Gosh, I don’t know how I could be more personal then I already am. I never announced to the public before that I had an illegal abortion. But to make the point I had to make about uterine biopsies, I thought it made sense. Thank you for your opinion. I’m hoping this becomes an exchange of ideas…

  3. admin says:

    Thank you so much for your kind words. If you sign up for the newsletter (it goes out the first of the month), I hope you’ll find info about new treatments in the works. That’s what we all want.

  4. SpinDocto says:

    I’m looking forward to getting more information about this topic, don’t worry about negative opinions.

  5. سكس says:

    Hello,nice post thanks for sharing?. I just joined and I am going to catch up by reading for a while. I hope I can join in soon.

  6. admin says:

    Thank you. You, and everyone who blogs here, are why I’m doing this.

  7. admin says:

    Thank you. I have to tell you that I appreciate your support, but it makes me nervous that “Free Green Tea” is your name. So I’m asking: Is this your opinion, or are you being advertisingly creative? If the answer is “both”, that’s fine. But if it’s only the creative thing…I sell ad space on the blog, submit a query.

Leave a Reply