J: A judgement of plaster of Paris?

Oops. There’s a ping pong ball sized hole in my hip!

Yesterday at Dr. Beresford’s request we trotted off to RUH in Bath to get my right leg and hip X rayed. He’d said that the bone scan results don’t show some things as clearly.

There was a bit of a delay for no apparent reason as the place was nearly empty. Then the radiographer appeared and apologised, explaining she was trying to get hold of Dr. Beresford as she was not 100% sure what he was looking for and therefore what shots to take. Very wise as we could have had a wasted journey – “get the brief right!” you learn early in the advertising business.

That sorted she took half a dozen images. They come up on screen almost immediately so after completion I asked to have a look at the last one. It looked pretty good to me with no sign of damage, and she said the same, though pointing out she was ‘just’ the radiographer.

We went home somewhat cheered and had just downed a cup of tea when Dr. Beresford called with cold water. “I’m afraid it looks like you have a 4-5cm hole in your hip bone. And unfortunately it’s impinging on the cortex which does not help.”

This is a bit of a poser as we then discussed.

  • This kind of problem can respond quite well to radiotherapy, but it may be that the cancer cells are holding the thing together, so if you zap them you increase the risk of a break.
  • An operation to pin the bone could mitigate the risk of fracture. But I’d have to come off the Sutent, which I’ve only just started, and it might be starting to suppress these and other unknown tumours. The bone can regenerate.
  • The last thing we want is an accidental fracture and admission to casualty where the Sutent would affect my immunity and recovery.

The thought of another operation made me realise I am still a bit traumatised by memories of the kidney operation – though a pin job here is fairly standard stuff of the kind that stereotypically happens to older women after falls. After all my father had a femur pinned in his nineties and was not in hospital that long.

We agreed that I am not particularly overweight (currently a little under 12st) and have generally strong bones which helps to reduce load and risk. I’m due delivery of a wheelchair today too. This is to help me get about with less pain, but will also take weight/strain off the hip.

Dr. Beresford mooted the possibility of an operation when I am on my two weeks off from the Sutent. I have just completed the first week of four. That way I get a dose ‘squared away’. I quite liked the sound of that.

First, though we need more discovery. So he will talk to the bone surgeons about risks, options, timings etc. – they might want an MRI scan to give them a better picture.

P.S. We have had a complaint from a reader, Mr. Maddened. In the interests of full disclosure this, and our reply, has been posted as a page.