We had an early morning, leaving the house at 6:30 AM to wind our way through SF’s dark, wet streets to UCSF’s Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Today was the last (we hope) in a series of tests to confirm the diagnosis to ensure the chemotherapy plan is on target. It was a CT-guided biopsy to remove a sample of the tumor tissue in her abdomen.

The staff, from the receptionist in radiology to the nurse to the team of physicians, has been tremendous. They have taken their time to walk us through everything and to answer all our questions. Of course, you don’t know what you don’t know and sometimes I feel woefully inadequate to ask intelligent and pertinent questions, despite my years in this field– albeit as a PR hack.

Mom was put under light sedation as she laid down on a cushioned bed that glides into the CT scanner. A CT scanner takes pictures of you in “slices” and helps the physicians guide the needle to the exact area they need to reach. The entire procedure took less than 40 minutes.

Afterwards, the nurse told me that the team was able to do the procedure without the CT and instead did it using ultrasound. This is good because it reduces mom’s exposure to radiation. She already had a CT scan of her chest last week, so I appreciated their attention to this detail.

I found this great online resource for anyone interested in learning more about their radiation exposure from various tests.

Now we’re home and mom is relaxing.

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