Blood tests…

Yes, I had my blood tests done yesterday…And I have called this my “flu with high fever” experiment (for details, see my January 31st post:…

Now, I always watch the blood extraction procedure with interest, mainly because I am always amazed at the amount of the dark red stuff that is taken out of my arm. Sometimes, though, watching blood being drawn from your arm may not be such a good idea. Yesterday, you see, an odd thing happened…

The nurse, a man in his 50s (therefore, I presume, not someone who was new at drawing blood!), inserted the needle into my arm and began pulling the plunger. But no blood (or anything else, for that matter!!!) flowed into the barrel of the syringe. He pulled…and pulled again. Nothing happened. So he began poking around inside my vein, I mean, seriously poking!, which startled me and felt a bit uncomfortable, to boot. Trying to make light of this unfortunate occurrence, I finally asked him: “Uhm, do you think there is any blood at all in there?” He didn’t think that was funny…and continued poking…

He finally managed to get my blood flowing into the barrel. It probably was only a matter of seconds, but it seemed like ages. I also noticed that my blood was entering the barrel verrrry slowly. Now, since this has never happened before, I wonder if I should be worried…

Naaah, the nurse was probably just having a bad day…Still, how weird…

I won’t have my test results until the middle of next month. Sigh. I really don’t know what to expect, since I still have a bit of a productive cough, which means that my total IgGs are almost certainly going to be sky high. However, in view of the fact that ten days ago I had a high fever that lasted for five full days, then a low-grade fever for two or three days, it will be interesting to see if my monoclonal component was affected in any way…

Well, I will be giving you the news, good or bad!, at some point after the middle of March.

Fingers crossed…!!! 🙂


  1. Oh Margaret for heaven’s sake when that happens you must ask them to STOP and try another vein. That is THE most uncomfortable feeling. I usually have small and shy veins, so trust me, I have experience.

    I’m sure he just got the vein in the wrong spot leading to it being very slow. Apparently (personal experience but can’t recall what she called it) this is possible. Sometimes I even have to ask them to get someone that has more experience with the type of veins I have. The first one is hunting and pecking. The second person slides right in there saying “I don’t see what the problem is”. Arggghh.

    Ok – it’s getting hard to type with fingers crossed but they are for you. Got my tests back today. My WBC is low but being on REV it’s “expected” (yuck) but everything else is great (according to my onc).



  2. Hi Margaret,
    why it takes 1 month to get the blood test results?
    In Germany i have my blood test results within 24 hours including all tumor markers (except of B2M, this takes 3-4 days,but not always to be measured).
    Blood has to be testet within the same day as taken.
    Why does the lab stuff need 1 month to bring the results on a test report sheet?

  3. Hi Margaret

    Veins that get poked over and over again develop scar tissue and ultimately become impossible to “hit.” This is a problem for us myelomics, who get bled at least monthly, sometimes more frequently.

    To preserve your veins, ask for a “butterfly”. This is a narrow gauge needle connected to a piece of tubing. The tubing minimizes side to side movement of the needle, and thus internal scarring, while blood is being drawn.

    If the tech doesn’t hit the vein on the first poke, don’t let them go in and out with the needle – this creates more holes and causes more damage. It’s better to have them start over on another vein.

    Always watch closely as the needle is being inserted and while your blood is being drawn.

    If it’s a tech I don’t know, I often warn them that my veins are “hard to hit”. This gives them the option of calling someone who is more adept.


  4. That nurse may have been in his 50’s but I think he was not very good at drawing blood, at lest from your veins. He might be a vampire more used to biting.

    I am certain it in no way indicates something wrong with you or your blood.

  5. Margaret, this happens to me every now and then, too. It is always because the phlebotomist misses the vein, or goes through it, or something of that nature. Sometimes they have to find a new vein, or else they “fish” around a bit, like yours did (which usually means a lovely bruise later). The only other probs I have had with blood draws happened if I was very dehydrated. Any chance that was the case with you? At any rate, nothing to worry about, methinks. Fingers crossed for good results!

  6. One month? That seems a bit excessive… what are they doing all that time? In any event, I will keep my toes and fingers crossed at night for the next 30 days – night because I need them during the day.

  7. Thanks, everyone! I feel reassured, now. 🙂

    No, I was not dehydrated…or at least I don’t think so. I normally drink tons of water…especially when I am ill or recovering from an illness. I had some water before leaving for the lab, in fact.

    The hospital labs in Florence (the ones where I have been, anyway) use the “butterfly” system, so that is not an issue.

    As for the waiting period, I remember asking why it took so long to get my results. I was told it was because of the vit D test, which isn’t one of your routine everyday tests, so it takes longer to process, apparently (?). Without the vit D test (which, of course, I want!), it usually takes two weeks to get your results here. I suppose that if something unusual turned up in your blood, you would get called about it immediately, or your GP would be notified…Luckily, that has never happened to me.

  8. Margeret, would be great if you – as an obviously routined myeloma writer – could explain us newly diagnosed, why myeloma is so different. You’re so great in explaining things understandable! Could you explain (not in too much scientic words) why this
    young guy ( developed bone lesions with only 10 % of plasma cells in his marrow? And others could live for years with more in their blood. Without any lesion. Myeloma is not attacking. Seems to have almost no (big) link between plasma cells and attack. How much tell our blood tests about the true development of tumours inside our bodies? This myeloma is so complex, but when do we know and how do we read in our blood tests, that smoldering becomes active myeloma? And think of this famous NBA-Pat Williams. Yearly blood tests, but – booom – immediate chemo after discovery of myeloma cells. It is such a confusing illness, Margeret. Thanks a lot for your blog, Peter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *