“The results of your MRI revealed an unspecified bone marrow abnormality in your right knee. Here’s a copy of the test results. Please contact either your rheumatologist or your family physician, as soon as possible, so they can determine whether or not to go ahead with a full body bone scan.”
It’s not every day you hear the words bone marrow abnormality. And I can tell you from personal experience the next words that will run through your mind will be things like oncology, cancer, chemotherapy, and an agonizing death. And then you might have to pull your car off the road just to catch your breath.
“Mom, I have the results. I am in the parking lot of Best Buy. I couldn’t drive home.”
“It’s okay. What do the results say?”
“Something about a bone marrow abnormality. But, the Orthopedic Specialist doesn’t really treat things like this. He mostly deals with sports injuries, and things like cartilage, and ligaments, and tendons. I am supposed to call either my Rheumatologist, or my Family Doctor.”
I couldn’t stop thinking about my grandfather, Poppa Ernie, who passed away from bone cancer. And neither could my mother. But no one said the C word.
“Call the Family Doctor. I’m sure he will be able to see you immediately.”
“Okay, mom. He told me if I ever get freaked out, or if I ever have questions, regarding my new health issues, or any of my other annoying medical conditions, to call him right away. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do, because I am a little freaked out. And I have a lot of questions.”
“Perfect. Let me know when the appointment is because I’m coming with you.”
“Okay. I’ll see you back at home in a few minutes.”
About a year ago, my right knee began feeling stiff. It was kind of annoying, yet manageable with OTC medications. However, over the past four months the pain has become unbearable. I cannot walk down the steps of my house without wincing. I cannot sit at my desk for longer than 30 minutes without having to stand up to stretch it out. Ice compresses only make it worse. And I can forget spending any length of time inside of a car. The OTC medications are no longer helpful. And the only time my knee doesn’t hurt, or throb with burning pain, is when I am unconscious.
My Rheumatologist decided my knee pain had nothing to do with my RA/Lupus/Sjogren’s diagnoses and suggested I schedule an appointment with an Orthopedic specialist.
And that’s exactly what I did.
After an X-Ray and an office visit with the Orthopedic Specialist, he thought I had either a bad case of patellar tendonitis, or patellar arthritis. Both would be treatable through physical therapy and medications. But he wanted to get an MRI anyway.
“Hi, Doctor G. Thank you for seeing me right away. I’m a little freaked out. I got the test results from my MRI and I’m not really sure what this means. And rather than imagining the worst case scenario, or channeling my inner Jerry Seinfeld, or going all Augusten Burroughs and getting all kinds of panic attack on everyone, I want to hear what you have to say first.”
He reviewed my tests and explained how bone marrow works so that my mom and I could understand. He took his time with us, calmed me down, and then he got on the phone with the radiologist who wrote the report to clarify exactly what unspecified abnormal bone marrow might mean.
As of right now, they don’t think it’s the Big C because none my blood work indicates any of that. But, there is definitely some kind of suspicious bone marrow lesion that needs to be looked at more closely.
I am scheduled for a Full Body Bone Scan, at the hospital, tomorrow at 8am.
It’s a four – five hour process.
And then I have to wait around for g-d knows how long to get those results.
In the meantime, can y’all say a little prayer for me?
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