In my last blog entry I wrote about a touch of grey and how inexact and uncertain medical test can be. I did not mean gray like dark. I meant gray like unclear. Well sometimes we get what we ask for (or not). A recent MRI of my left hip reveals that the new area of concern on the rear of my left Ishial bone is indeed a metastatic tumor (Booo). The MRI confirms the location and size of the tumor that the PET/CT scan implied. I had a feeling something was up. Although it is part of the hip, there does not appear to be a direct connection between my worsening pain in the hip and the new tumor (maybe). I won’t bore you with the details on Bone Metastases, but this article I found on-line is quite accurate and informative if you care to learn more. The bottom line is that my type of advanced lung cancer particularly likes to metastasize to the spine, hip and skull. Although my lungs remain clear and cancer free, by bloodstream continues to deposit cancer cells in my bones.
|The Little Bugger|
The MRI further confirms the deterioration of the left hip; likely from a combination of arthritis, trauma from the previous surgery, proximity of the previous tumor to the hip socket fluid around the bone grafts and the lack of cartilage left in the hip socket. All in, this makes me a candidate for a reconstructive hip replacement. Mind you, this is not your mother’s hip replacement. I get a whole new metal socket with the same femur work as a conventional hip replacement. It should relieve the pain I am in now (of course that is after a week in the hospital, 10 days at a rehab facility and a month of home bound rehab prior to putting full weight on it). Everything comes with a price.
My surgeon is the head of Orthopedic Oncology at NYU Medical Center and the Hospital for Joint Diseases, so I am confident that I am getting the best surgeon possible. He is the same guy who repaired my hip two years ago. He outlined the surgery for me, as well as it’s potential risks and rewards. He did not directly recommend the procedure and would rather see me try to tolerate the pain and treat the new cancer area. As he put it, “You can always adjust to the pain and use crutches and/or a cane for the rest of your life”. Great. Thanks for the pep talk. The tumor is does not lend itself to surgical removal, but it can be addressed with radiation therapy. If I get radiation now, I have to wait until the fall to get the surgery, in the event I have no relief over the summer.
More gray again. It appears that the choice is mine, yet it really is not. My primary oncologist sent me to the specialist for advice. Just because I do not like it does not mean I should not take it. (Is that a triple negative?) 2 out of the 3 doctors I spoke to said to address the cancer first, and monitor the hip until I am eligible for surgery. So that is what I'll do. I’ll take my medicine and shift gears again to adjust to my new reality. An occasional metastasis to a bone is not nearly the worst case my disease can progress. I’ve got lots of bones, but only two lungs, one liver and one brain (ish).
I’m already beating the odds and confidant that I will stay that way. My disease and its progression are a bit of an anomaly, as am I, so I will not allow myself to be lumped into the grim statistics of my fellow lung cancer friends. The support I get from family and friends continues to serve me well. Positive energy continues to flow my way. I feel it every day. I also appreciate every day. Appreciation is good therapy. Too bad it does not make for a better hippie. Oh well.