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Hip Hip Hooray

The past few months my running activity has come to a screeching halt really. I was not able to run in the race that I initially set as myself for a goal. I did walk with a great friend and then after I did not do a lot of walking the rest of the day. That Guy rubbed my foot and back. For these last few months, missing out on the activity I had come to rely on to get back in shape and relieve stress and get some alone time, almost meditative like to help relieve the stress and anxiety, was leaving a negative cloud and causing me to hobble around in it. Finally I realized I needed to see a doctor.

Say what you will about my decision to procrastinate. It went beyond just my mom telling me to make a phone call and see if I could have it checked. Friends and co-workers chimed in as well. I just have not had the time and, most of all, I was scared. What if it wasn’t a pulled muscle? What if it wasn’t the same old pain I have had for ages just progressing? Why was it starting on my hip and going throughout my leg in different areas and causing heel pain? Were they connected? Did I really want to open that can of worms?

Finally someone stated the obvious. I needed to see someone and they knew just the person on my oncology team who would get it done. I had two back to back appointments coming up with my surgical oncologist followed by my radiation oncologist. I would ask them. They would at least have some direction as to where to start since starting with my general physician seemed like going backward to make all the steps forward to end up where I already would be. As expected, my surgeon took action. She ordered a full body bone scan. Obvious reaction to her decision: panic. Why in the world do I need that? Why not just do a few x-rays? And since she knows me well, the surgeon found me at the check out desk to let me know that there was no reason to panic when I saw what the actual script said, she was not expecting anything cancer related.

I had to wait almost a week to have the test done. It was a two part appointment the scheduling person explained when they called. First thing in the morning, I went in to have the material injected into my vein. Then I was to come back in a few hours. I went home and was able to work in between. The first part of the scan was about twenty-five minutes of holding completely still. The scan started at the tippy top of my head and went all the way to my toes. Not for the claustrophobic but keeping my eyes closed made it much easier to handle. The initial technicians in the room switched out at some point in that time when my head was in and my eyes were closed. I could tell something was up from the chatter in the hall or doorway or just somewhere behind me since I couldn’t move to look around. The new tech is there when the scan completes and tells me they are going to do the lateral now since my bladder appears pretty empty.

So the lateral scan on that machine finishes up and I think I’m done. Instead the technician comes back in and I can tell this isn’t good. He tells me that the person reviewing the images, a doctor I believe, saw something and they are going to do another test. I have no idea what he said about it, but I remember hearing that it was going to be like a PET scan and I should follow him across the hall and he would get my coat and yes, right away right now. I was firing away with questions and responding for him, “Yeah, I know. You can’t tell me anything. But the only time I had a PET scan was when I was diagnosed with cancer to see if it had spread so please just tell me if it is cancer or a fracture you are leaning toward thinking based on what you are seeing.”

The second test was a little bit shorter. The technician showed me the area in question at the beginning. Not being a medical professional, I had no idea what I was looking at, but I felt like it looked like a fracture. That didn’t help me when it was over and the technician sent me to the waiting room to wait for the doctor to review the additional images. Then he told me it was time to go and explained that the images showed whatever it was well enough and the report would be ready in a couple of hours. Then I should hear from the doctor or it will be available through the online portal he said. Then he told me to go have a glass of wine. In my yoga pants. At 11 in the morning. Alone. I must have looked like a real anxious mess. I told him I had to go home and work so no wine sadly.

Coffee Wine

Home I went with some coffee. Okay let’s be honest, it was a frappuccino, because that is wine for the daytime and obviously I needed to be more wound up after that little experience. I filled in That Guy and he was a bit shocked that it might be a fracture and I was a bit freaked that it might be something more. Even that morning when I was getting ready for the initial part of the procedure, That Guy mentioned something to the effect that if it was cancer “we” would just go through treatment again and then I would be fine again. Can anyone see what is wrong with that? Metastatic breast cancer is not something that is as easy as he made it sound. With all else going on that morning I didn’t have time to use it for a teaching moment so I just reminded him of it. But really, how closely is he proofreading this for me?

Back to the story, the technician explained that the pains in my leg between my knee and hip as well as in my knee that had been moving around made sense if it was a hip issue. I spoke to a friend who could talk me down off the crazy ledge and made a conscious decision that I wouldn’t call my mom and only if she remembered and asked would I tell her what had happened. I checked for the report through the online system and it was not there. I checked again and again. Then an hour after the report was supposed to be completed, I called the doctor’s office. She was in surgery all day and had a more than full day of patents on the following day so the nurse thought I might not hear back for a couple of days. That didn’t stop me from refreshing looking for the report throughout the rest of the evening. There was always a chance that after she finished up operating all day she would review the report and then I would be able to see it. Obviously.

I did have my glass of wine that night. And I got up the next morning and checked for the report. If you call the next morning the middle of the night sometime between midnight and 5:30 am. Then I checked again at 5:30 am. And again before 8 am. At 9 am my phone rang and I jumped out of my skin and answered before the second ring when I saw it was a hospital number. The nurse was on the other end of the phone and she said it was in fact a fracture and there was no cancer seen. So I did the obvious and told her I loved her and thanked her for calling. Seriously.

The good news is the fracture is already healing. The bad news is I obviously won’t be running anytime soon. There is nothing they would have been able to do had I gone when it initially started hurting, but I probably would have had less pain since it would have been a time to rest not run through the pain and tough it out. But seriously, I hope I at least earned some bad-ass points in That Guy’s eyes since I think he feels like I complain it hurts pretty often. But I was carrying kids around. Running. And since I’m sure my mom is waiting to read it, “Yes, mom, I am going to go to the doctor easier next time and you were right.”

Also, waiting for the day this cancer survivor thing gets easier.

More on that another time.

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  1. […] I had to cancel everything after my very early morning physical therapy assessment session for my hip. I took the most unexpectedly long nap in a very long time and felt much better […]

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