The past few months I’ve been dealing with something that I never expected in my twenties – a cancer scare.
It all started about a year ago. I was painting my toes and found a small bump on my toe. It felt almost like the bone had been broken a little bit and mended back together a little crooked on the top. There isn’t much that you can do for a broken toe and it wasn’t bothering me so I left it and forgot about it. Then this past fall it started to really bug me and hurt depending on what shoes I wore.
In November I was at a regular doctor’s appointment about something else and mentioned it in passing. My family doctor thought it might be a bone spur, so she sent me in for an x-ray, which came up with something but they weren’t sure what, so a CT scan followed. From there I was referred to an orthopaedic specialist who said that it could be one of two things, including a tumour. I went into the holidays knowing that there was a chance that I had cancer and that I would be having an MRI before New Years to get a better look at it.
The next Saturday morning I got an urgent call from my family doctor to come see her immediately. When Garrett and I got there she said that the radiologists’ report came back suggesting that it could be a rare type of bone cancer that is usually found in women in their twenties and that I was being referred to the Sarcoma Unit at Mount Sinai in Toronto.
It was an agonizing week leading up to that appointment. By this point the bump had started to grow and was putting pressure on the tendons in my foot. I couldn’t walk the dogs, could barely drive to work without pain and had to stop running and biking at the gym. I called the hospital every day to see if there were any cancellations and put everything on stand by in case I needed to leave at a moment’s notice. When I got there, they started off by going through the worst case scenarios for this type of bone cancer – most definitely surgery, possibly chemo and the chance that part of my foot would be amputated. The next two hours of waiting to see the surgeon was painstaking. What would I be walking out of here with?
When the surgeon finally came in the room, he had a big smile on his face and said that he had some promising news. He didn’t believe that I had the rare bone cancer that they’d previously thought, but rather an even more rare benign tumour called Nora’s Lesion (or BPOP). They would be able to remove it with surgery, leaving my toe intact, and they would still be doing a biopsy of the tumour after it’s removed just to be sure that it wasn’t anything else. It felt like a huge weight came off my shoulders in that moment.
Next came the four week wait for surgery. My activity level dropped as I stopped walking on my foot and limited how far I would drive. I could hardly wait to get this thing out!
Yesterday I headed down to the hospital with my mom and mother-in-law. It was just a day surgery so I was in at 10am and out by 3pm. The only job I have for the next few days is to keep my foot bandaged and propped up, and keep the good drugs coming and drink lots of water. I just hope that everything goes well and I can recover quickly, because I am so ready to get active again. Not being able to do everything that I love and move around as I usually do has been a real eyeopener to how others live. I’ll never take my mobility or good health for granted again.