Jill Fitzgerald

First post: Dec 11, 2017 Latest post: Feb 27, 2019
Hello team Jill.   Many of you already know that I was diagnosed with stage 4 advanced lung cancer a few weeks ago.  I had been struggling with pain in my hip and groin area for quite some time and it appeared to the three orthopedic doctors that i went to, that I needed a hip replacement.  There is no MRI required to proceed with a hip replacement so it seemed to be the right thing to do based on x-rays and the loss of space (bone on bone) all the way around my hip joint.  Worth noting to all of you since some of you are fellow aging athletes, that if you are looking at a hip replacement ever, you might want to ask for an MRI to confirm that nothing else is going on.   Following the hip replacement, I was off my feet quite a bit more than I usually am and therefore the pain was gone and the hip replacement a success!  However, every time i tried to go out and play more aggressively, I would experience an even deeper pain.  So I marked it down to "just didn't give it enough time to heal" and rested and rehabbed another few months.   

On October 20th I went out and played several games and at that point I could not even put any weight on my right foot and spent 3 days in bed with the most grueling pain possible. I would find out later that i had a fracture in my sacrum so any weight bearing, laughing, coughing, etc was met with death defying pain.   Yes ladies, worse than labor pains!  Following several attempts at cortisone shots, and physical therapy, and massage, I finally had an MRI and then based on those results an MRI with contrast and those showed a large tumor in my right sacral area, that it had eaten a hole in my sacral bone and through bone marrow had fracture the sacrum.   After that I went straight to an oncologist, had a biopsy, and that was the cancer diagnosis confirmed.  Next has been a series of CAT scans and brain MRI to determine where else the cancer might have spread to.   So here is the good news!!!  No cancer has spread to my liver, abdomen, or my ever more feeble brain!!!

I have secured an incredible medical team here locally who have spent hours going through all my tests and texting me day and night about changes to my medication to get me out of severe pain so that i can get strong to fight this fight.  My radiation oncologist just happened to go to Harvard Medical School for his residency and there began working with the foremost cancer specialist in the country in my area:  Non Small Cell Lung Cancer of non-smoking white female patients.    Her name is Dr. Alice Shaw and I will meet with her December 12.  From there I will know my treatment schedule and can best keep you all informed about my status and needs are.  

The fight is on and I need all your prayers and love and support.  Thank you all so much!!

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