Originally published on CaringBridge.org – a non-profit online presence that allows people to easily get updates and offer support and encouragement for family and friends in challenging health situations. Their mission is “to amplify the love, hope and compassion in the world, making each health journey easier”. And they do it very well. If you or a loved one encounters such a challenge, I highly recommend using this tool to communicate.
I’ve brought all my journal updates from CaringBridge to my blog, as there is as much eccentric contemplation in this chapter of my life as in any other. So many angels made encouraging comments on my journal – I am not including those comments here, but you are welcome to visit my CaringBridge site if you want to read any of them.
My Story – October 2016
I’ve just started on a journey I’d previously only watched from the sidelines.
On Saturday, October 15th, I first heard the word ‘tumor’ applied to me – to my body. A tumor in my leg had caused my femur to fracture and I was at high risk for breaking my left leg if I put any weight on it. Sunday was a day of rest and wonder. On Monday morning everything started moving fast and slow at the same time. I was admitted to UK Med Center to start a round of diagnostic tests. I ended up having surgery on Thursday, conducted by the best orthopedic oncology surgeon in Kentucky. He took a biopsy, removed the tumor, and installed a rod nearly the full length of my femur to prevent it from breaking.
It may be two more weeks before I have a final pathology report, but there are a couple of things the initial biopsy (and earlier diagnostic testing) can tell me. I do not have a primary bone tumor – osteosarcoma or any sarcoma, which is good news. I do not have a blood cell cancer, which would have been better news as it’s easier to treat. The tumor is a carcinoma originating elsewhere, so metastasized from its original site. Not great news and we don’t even know where the cancer started. We know from the full body bone scan that I have tumors in other places – one in a vertebra in my thoracic spine, which cracked that vertebra – one on my skull, and one on my liver – apparently none of which are the primary site.
I’m going to use this website to share information with my friends, so I can restrict my phone conversations to my medical teams and my family. Some of you may have had experience with the type of cancer I end up with, and I’d appreciate learning from you. Some of you might just want to leave a note that says you’re thinking of me and hope I’m having a good day.
So, you can’t accompany me on this journey, but reading about it might be interesting. I’ll post updates in the Journal section as I learn things. I may be released from the hospital on Monday – working on physical therapy and getting pain manageable.