After several weeks of waiting, I met with orthopedic surgeon and sarcoma specialist, Dr. Cheong, and his nurse, Kendra Anderson, yesterday.
Dr. Cheong is young, energetic and personable. I was very impressed. We reviewed my x-rays and MRI results–side by side and from every angle–for about 20 minutes. Unfortunately, results from the meeting were mixed.
The good news is I won’t need surgery anytime soon. My right femur still features several large holes, but no new changes. But Dr. Cheong doesn’t see any imminent danger of my leg breaking.
But why so much leg pain? “You have advanced arthritis in your hip joint.” he replied. “Here, let’s take a look at the films…”
There is was: Clear evidence of what he called “advanced arthritis” of the hip. The joint was thickened and rough. There were clear “spurs” or sharp edges along the upper rim. And there was fluid–lots of fluid–so much it even showed-up on the x-rays.
Dr. Cheong shared with me how this type of presentation often resulted in leg and groin pain. He wasn’t surprised the hip itself didn’t hurt. Dr. Cheong then discussed treatment options. “Cortisone might help for a month or so.” he said. You probably don’t need it yet, but you might consider a hip replacement…”
A hip replacement? Crazy? What about the myeloma? “None of this seems directly related to your multiple myeloma.” he replied.
“Is it common to have severe arthritis in one joint and not others?” I asked. “Yes.” he replied. Very common.
Could all of the myeloma damage on my right side have contributed to the deterioration of the joint? “Possibly. Its hard to know.” he said.
Almost as an after thought, Dr. Cheong did show me a new “hot spot,” located deep inside the socket portion of my hip. “It’s up to your oncologists to decide what to do about that.” he said. “If they decide its needed, I am going to recommend using a MRI guided biopsy.”
So let’s summarize. The good news is I don’t need surgery. The fluid in my hip joint isn’t a “myeloma soup” as I feared. There are no new holes in my femur.
The bad news is I have newly diagnosed, acute arthritis in my right hip. Plus, there is still an undiagnosed “hot spot” in my hip which may still need to be biopsied.
The no news part? Will I still need a surgical biopsy? If the “hot spot” is a myeloma lesion, will I need radiation? Will that radiation help reduce my monoclonal protein readings, or M-spike?
Dr. Cheong joked about “Fitting me into his surgical schedule next week…” I think he felt I should have been more pleased with the results of our meeting. I did feel relieved I wouldn’t need major, orthopedic surgery. But the guy had just told me I had a serious, new medical condition–and we hadn’t learned anything new about the new hole in my hip.
I called Pattie and shared the news. She wasn’t happy.
I fired-off a list of questions for my lead oncologist, Dr. Melissa Alsina, and my oncology nurse, Ally, at Moffitt as soon as I arrived back home. I am scheduled to see them in 10 days. But I would like to get going with any additional tests they may need to decide what to do before our next meeting.
Good news. Bad news. No news. Pretty much sums things up, don’t you think? Welcome to the world of a multiple myeloma survivor! Now if I could just do something about this new pain in my leg…
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat