December 6, 2012

My Recent Medical Drama

For the past six weeks I've been dealing with a pretty scary medical situation. I didn't post about it because it was loaded with unknowns. It was one of those situations where one thing led to another and to another, and none of it would have been found at all if it weren't for an accidental discovery.

A couple weeks pre-marathon I was experiencing severe hip and groin pain that forced me to stop running. I had my monster peak week, then basically stopped. I slogged my way through the Army 10-Miler, then stopped again. I thought I had a femoral stress fracture and saw a sports med doctor to confirm or rule it out. He sent me for an immediate MRI and I got the results within days. I was relieved to hear I didn't have a stress fracture, but puzzled to hear something else. I had a growth in my hip socket that the MRI happened to pick up. He said it was likely nothing to worry about, but suggested I see a tumor specialist to be sure. I made an appointment with a leading orthopedic oncologist and waited a stressful week, only to be forced to wait another stressful week due to Hurricane Sandy.

More X-rays were taken and another MRI was ordered to determine what this lesion was. The results came back quickly and it was a benign intraosseous hemangioma, something we'd have to monitor for awhile, but nothing to be concerned about. But more tests were required to be sure everything was ok, this time a CT scan and full-body bone scan with radioactive contrast. The reports confirmed the hemangioma diagnosis, but discovered more abnormalities in my left leg - one in the tibia, and two in the femur. An old stress fracture was likely the cause of the tibial issue, but I had no idea what could be going on in my femur. I was sent for more MRIs, both with contrast and without, a test that would take more than two, miserably uncomfortable hours.

I've waited days for the results and thought of every possible scenario, including a battle with bone cancer. When your health is in question, it makes you look at life so differently. The thought of my leg failing me on such an epic level was ironic since I'm an athlete and I rely on my legs to carry me through the challenges I pursue. Suddenly running a slow marathon sounded like a gift, not something to complain about. Simple things felt more important. I think these were some of the most stressful and reflective days of my life.

But today I finally got the results and everything is just fine. I have what's called an enchondroma, another sort of benign tumor. I was likely born with both of these and had it not been for the running injury, I may not have known about them for years, or possibly never. Since I do know, the doctor can monitor them for any changes and stay one step ahead.

And the running injury? Simple hip flexor tendonitis. I think the moral of this story is listen to your body and if anything seems off, get it checked out. I'm so glad I did even if it led to stress overload. Now if I could just stick to a strength and stretching routine, I'll be back on my running feet in no time, appreciating every slow, magnificent mile.


  1. Scary stuff but seems like all is good now.

  2. glad to hear everything is ok!

  3. yikes! glad the results came back ok.

  4. Oh my that would be frightening. Glad it didn't turn into any big surgery. I've been trying to work on listening to my body more. Excellent advice. Best wishes for 2013



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