On March 14 (Pi Day!), I took the day off since I wasn’t feeling well. What was supposed to be a restful day quickly changed as I put my pet chinchillas away. I fell over their gate, into their cage and onto the floor. I knew I hurt my left hip pretty badly since I couldn’t put any weight on it, but I had no idea of what was to come. The next day my daughter Sadie drove me to the emergency room, where they took an X-ray and then a CT scan. The CT showed a fracture in the trochanter bone of the hip. The ER doctor immediately made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon in Bemidji who I saw the following week. She ordered an MRI since that hip has been hurting for over a year — a pain that I had attributed to age and running. When I returned for the follow up appointment, she looked at me and said, “Well, I have a surprise for you, and it’s not a good one. There is a large tumor in your left hip ...”. What she said after that is pretty much a blur. I just cried and had all sorts of things running through my head, mainly my kids. She told me that I either needed to go to the U of M or Mayo, where they specialize in these types of things. She also ordered me a wheelchair since I could no longer get around on crutches due to pain and dizziness and fear. So on Friday, March 30, my friend Steve drove me to the U of M to meet with an orthopedic surgeon, who scheduled a CT scan, bone scan, blood tests, and a bone biopsy and reconstructive surgery for the following Thursday.
The scans were clear, blood work was pretty normal, and surgery went well, and although he only performed a biopsy, I lost a lot of blood and was in significant pain afterward. When I woke up I was told I could go home since they don’t hospitalize patients for just a biopsy. To make a long story short, I spent 3 nights in the hospital as they tried to control my pain and extremely low blood pressure caused so many narcotics. The night I was required to sleep with my head lower than my feet which cured the blood pressure issue but now I had surgical pain and a splitting headache! Finally on day 3, I was able to sit in my wheelchair for 20 min at a time so I was ready to be discharged. We were released to Hope Lodge, a free place to stay near the hospital for cancer patients and their caregivers. What a blessing!
On Monday, April 9, 15 years to the day I lost my first son, I met with an orthopedic surgeon who confirmed cancer. The pathology report indicated a plasma cytoma in the hip. As scary as that sounds, that’s what I’m hoping for since if they find cancer cells in other bones, then it is classified as multiple myeloma. If the cancer is confined to the hip, I’m looking at 4.5 weeks of radiation and then very close observation and future scans. If MM, it’s a bit more involved with radiation, chemo, steroids, and a stem cell transplant. We will soon know which disease we are dealing with. I will keep you posted.