Wow, what a week it has been! I had a great week of training last week and was ready to follow it up with another. As you may know from my last post, I had some tests on Monday (which all came back fine by the way…yay!) but got back at it on Tuesday. I went to see an orthopedic on Wednesday because I have been having some knee pain off and on since Gulf Coast Triathlon in May. They took some x-rays which confirmed what my Physical Therapist has suspected–that my kneecap tracks to the left of center. Not a game changer at all, just something that now it’s confirmed we could be more focused in PT with the treatment, but I would have still been able to continue my training without much modification. Fortunately (or unfortunately–I still go back and forth between the two) the x-rays also revealed something else.
When the PA came into the room, he asked about the pain I have been having and showed me the x-ray that clearly displays my kneecap a little left of center. But then he explained that they also saw something else of concern–I have a tumor in my femur (thigh bone) where it connects into the knee joint. He showed me the x-ray which clearly shows a mass (see the area where the arrow points to). So not expecting news like this, I was in shock. And of course the place that my mind goes is “what does this mean for the Ironman?” When the doctor came in he explained what he thinks it is–a giant cell bone tumor which I probably have had for a long time. He said most people find out about it when their bone breaks so to find it before then is a good thing. He also said that most of the time they are benign, but I would still need surgery to take it out and then bone grafting to replace the bone that has been lost to the tumor. He explained that I would need an MRI, then a nuclear bone scan and then to see an orthopedic oncologist (the closest one being in New Orleans). But what about running and what about the race I have been training for this past year? He said that I could keep swimming and biking, but really didn’t want me to keep running. I explained that I was training for the Ironman and my race was in 6 weeks–even as I type this I realize the absurdity of that statement, but we all know there is a little crazy in those of us willing to take on the Journey to the Ironman.
I wouldn’t normally be so public with a struggle like this, but you all have been right there supporting me every step of the way towards #IMFL and I wanted to explain what might derail the journey. Also, I know that I am going to need your support as I go through this next chapter, no matter if it includes the Ironman or not, I am going to need the cheerleaders in my life to remind me that I will get to the other side of this.
I had an MRI later that same day, my bone scan is scheduled for Monday, and I have another doctor’s appointment with this doctor on Tuesday. Unfortunately, I can’t get into see the doctor in New Orleans for another month. At this point Ironman Florida is now tentative. The doctor never told me I couldn’t do it, but he had a valid concern about uneven footing and other things that could happen participating in an endurance event and being quite tired by the time the run came around as the bone is weak and more likely to break if anything happens. I asked about the possibility of walking it and he was a little more open to that. But part of my schedule in the near future is dependent upon the scheduling of tests and appointments. The next closest doctor is in Houston, and I might call over there today to see if there is a possibility of getting in sooner. In the meantime, I am going to keep swimming and biking and elliptical-ling (a compromise).
So that’s the update for now. I will be sure to post when and If I know more and as I am ready to share. At the beginning of the week I would never have expected to be here typing this on Friday morning–I had very different plans for this week, but it is what it is and I can’t change it, so instead I will learn to deal with it as best I can. I guess all this mental training for the Ironman is going to come in handy sooner than I had planned.