Pre-transplant testing started on October 10, 2005. The first test was a bone marrow biopsy. This was Richard's fifth. The first he had done at the oncologist's office without sedation. The next four were done at Mayo with sedation. Sedation is better, but sometimes hard to get if the office isn't equipped for the monitoring that's needed for sedation. Frankly, it's usually a money issue. Employing trained staff and having the equipment for monitoring isn't usually cost effective, and if they refer you to to the outpatient department of a hospital, they will lose the fee. Such is medical care in America! Anyway, the illustration gives you an idea of what's involved. The purpose is to quantify the amount of plasma cells in the bone marrow. The higher the percentage, the more active the myeloma. There is debate about the utility of this test, because it is known that the distribution of plasma cells in the marrow isn't always uniform, but still it continues to be done in most treatment centers.
If you get a choice, take the sedation!
There were many blood tests, including CBC, CMP, SPEP, quantitative immunoglobulins, beta 2 micro globulin, CRP, LDH, and others. Please check out this link for a good explanation of the tests most often done for myeloma and what the results mean. There is also a good explanation of bone marrow biopsy results.