The good news, is that I have an almost 0% chance of losing my left arm, and that there are no metastases showing up on the PET CT scan.
The bad news, is that I have a malignant tumor in my left shoulder. Whether it is low or high grade we won’t know until sometime after the biopsy next Monday.
It hurts. Ow ow ow. Like bone cancers tend to do, right? I’ve been walking around with what amounts to a broken shoulder for months now. I’ve got painkillers for it, but I’ve never reacted to those like normal people do. I’m either in pain or unconscious with none of the fun bits in between for which narcotics are known.
It’s a chondrosarcoma, which means it originated in the bone. That’s super rare, but way better than having it be the result of metastasis from a primary elsewhere.
If it comes back from the biopsy as a high grade tumor (most likely, given how hot it glowed on the PET scan), there will be chemo first. How much, we won’t know until we meet with an oncologist.
Regardless, the surgery, whether it takes place before or after chemo, is going to involve a joint replacement where they take out the entire left scapula and replace it with one that they’ve 3D printed from a detailed CT scan of the original (that part is totally rad).
So prognosis is way better than we feared, but for the next few months I’m going to be a) in a lot of pain, b) unable to drive, and c) exhibiting a highly variable degree of lucidity.
First, I would like to apologize in advance for any offensive behavior (I mean above and beyond the usual) which I inflict on any of you in the following months. It will most likely take the form of irritation and sarcasm. Well, okay. You might not be able to tell.
Second, yes we could use some help. Our biggest needs will be wrangling Sarah (I’m the one who walks her home from school everyday, and she can’t go with us to the hospital), and running errands (even when I’m up for it, narcotics means no driving). Otherwise, I might like some company for lunch every so often, so I have something else to think about.
Luckily, Mark has a very flexible work schedule, and so, if he has to, he can take the time off and work from home, but the less of that he has to do, the better, especially since he’s coming up for tenure early next year. Also luckily, we have very good insurance through USC, and aren’t worried about becoming destitute or anything.
So, don’t be scared. It could be worse.
We’ll keep people updated.