Initially I was not sure that I would even post this information but seeing how I have nothing to hide and would like to set the record straight for those who have been misinformed. And out of respect for my friends & family that have yet to hear what is going on the information will be most accurate coming directly from the source.
Rumor has it I have cancer, I guess no one is to blame after hearing the words tumor & radiation in the same sentence. What I do have is a cervical hemiangioma (a benign vascular tumor in my neck). I have probably had it my entire life however it has progressed throughout the years. Hemiangiomas of the spine are very common however they are usually found in the lower vertebrae (lumbar and/or thoracic region) and they do not usually encompass the entire vertebral body as mine does. The orthopedic neurosurgeon I saw said I am only the second case he has actually see in his many years of practice.
Long story a little shorter.....I have had neck pain since my 20's which has progressed. I was seen a few times with no real findings and just resumed to living with intermittent pain. Last February I was asked to be a test patient for a neck MRI and the hemangioma was an incidental finding. Fast forward 9 months later.... the frequency and severity of my pain was worsening. I consulted with a couple other doctors and after very little convincing from Maine Man I went to see my PCP and then was sent to an Orthopedic Neurosurgeon who then consulted with some of his colleagues due to the rarity of my case.
The worst case scenarios with this cervical hemiangioma is a compression fracture potentially leading to paralysis and/or uncontrollable bleeding if I were to emergently require surgery.
The plan.... I will be receiving radiation therapy starting in approximately 2 - 3 weeks. I will receive 20 treatments total, 5 days a week for 1 month. I will be watched closely throughout and thereafter in hopes that the bone will grow back and/or scar tissue will replace the tumor. I am hopeful that this treatment will work but if it does not I will have to have neck surgery to fuse my vertebrae.
With this new adventure the commitment to post here on my blog everyday in 2011 will not happen but I will still try to post frequently. My plan is to sneak my camera into the cancer center and share some bits & pieces of my journey.