Skin biopsy today, to test for GVH

They took a skin biopsy today, to verify that all of the funky markings on Beth’s skin is graft vs host disease. The PA who took the biopsy didn’t want me to photograph it. But after administering a local anesthetic, she used a small, hollowed out device that looked like the eraser-holder of a mechanical pencil. She rotated it on the skin on the back of Beth’s shoulder, pushing it deeper and making a small, circular cut on the skin. When she pulled it out, the skin came out with it, just a bit, but it was still connected on the inside. So she got a small pair of forceps, yanked on the loose skin a bit, and sliced off the small, circular piece that just been carved. It was about the size and shape of the eraser from a small mechanical pencil.

The purpose of this, now, will be to examine it under a microscope, to verify that the T-cells (lymphocytes, or white blood cells that handle immunity) are indeed attacking her skin.

While it would indeed be good news if that were the case — if they’re attacking her skin, they’re also attacking any of the remaining old chemo-and-radiation-infested bone marrow that may be left. Unfortunately, the process is not a very comfortable one, and it causes her pain and itching that just doesn’t go away. Reminds me of the time Nate got poison ivy real bad …

We should have the results of this by Thursday.