The Past 10 Days

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shows it’s only in right knee

I know I’ve been on radio silent the past couple of days as far as my knee is concerned. So much going on so fast that it’s hard to process. If you have asked me how I am doing and I have not answered or have evaded the question, I apologize–most of the time I am not really sure which makes it hard to answer the question. To bring you up to speed on the events and information from last several days…

After seeing the orthopedist last week, I had an MRI the same day to get a better picture of what was going on in my leg.

Monday I had a nuclear bone scan to see if there might be another bone tumor somewhere else.

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shows it’s encapsulated in the bone

Tuesday I saw the same orthopedist from last week to get the results from the previous two tests. Brought a friend with me just in case it was less than desirable news. (Thank you Miss Laura.) He gave me what I felt was the best news given the situation–that it looks from the bone scan that we are only dealing with one tumor and that from the MRI he could see that the tumor was still encapsulated in the bone. I also got the news that the orthopedic oncologist in New Orleans had an opening the next day–the one who originally I wasn’t going to be able to see for a month. What a great visit given the situation!

Wednesday I headed down to New Orleans to see the orthopedic oncologist. He practices at Oschner. I handed the nurse my packet of stuff when she called me in–it has the printed notes from my tests as well as disks of all my test images. One of the residents came in to talk to me first. Asked all the same questions that had been asked before by the other doc. Explained that they too thought it was probably a giant cell tumor and that he thought the doctor would want to take it out right away like on this Friday. Up until that statement I was completely fine, but their urgency freaked me out. Why when they tell me it’s benign and it’s been there for years does it have to come out in 2 days?! When the doctor came in the room he asked the same questions yet again and explained that I was classically presenting with a giant cell tumor. He explained that although the tumor is contained within the bone, there were some areas were the bone was pretty thin especially at the bottom end of the femur near the knee–actually wanted to send me home on crutches (not sure he understands the stress my knee has held up under over the past several months).

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shows the thinned out bone towards the end of the femur

I asked about the actual surgery and he explained the process. They will take a piece out of the bone to be able to get at the tumor. First thing once inside will be to take a bit out in order to biopsy it. If indeed it is a what they think it is–a giant cell tumor they will proceed with the following: remove the tumor; do a couple of things to make sure it’s all out; fill cavity with cement; bone graft the opening they created shut; and reinforce the end if the femur with more bone grafting. If it’s not a giant cell tumor they will not proceed with the rest of the procedure and most likely close me up and come up with another course of action. Recovery time will be a good 2 months on crutches so as to give the grafted bone a chance to heal.

The good news is that the specialist did say I can continue to swim and bike up until the surgery, which I am grateful about because otherwise I might go stir crazy.

So back to that question of how I’m doing…well some days are good and some are not as good. It’s been so fast that it’s been difficult to process it all and what it will mean. I think of how life will change for the next couple of months (which I know isn’t long) but then also of the chance that we don’t actually know for certain what we are dealing with. So many of you have offered to help and I appreciate that so much. At the moment I’m not sure what I will need but will be sure to put it out there when I do figure it out.

In the immediate future, I am going to see another orthopedic oncologist this week. He is at Emory in Atlanta and comes highly recommended by several people. We will see what he says, but at this point I am leaning towards having the surgery soon so I can start on my way to recovery ASAP.

So that should bring you up to speed. Again, thanks for your support the past 10 days. It’s been pretty mind-blowing and it has helped knowing my friends are just an SOS away.