A couple of months ago, I went to see a doctor about a lump on my lower left thigh, just above the knee. An MRI indicated that the lump was likely a rhabdomyosarcoma – a cancerous tumor – although I would need a biopsy to be sure.
Based on the age and size of my tumor, and the fact that the MRI hinted at additional sarcomas on the bones of both legs, my prognosis looked fairly grim. In the worst case, I might have had less than two years left even with aggressive treatment.
It took me several weeks and referrals to three different doctors before I found one who was willing to do the biopsy. Three weeks ago, I had an open biopsy on my thigh that left me with a two-inch incision and nine surgical staples. Last week, we finally got the results from the biopsy: the mass in my thigh is a myxoid liposarcoma. A bone scan done just before the biopsy showed no bone involvement.
Now a liposarcoma is still a malignant tumor – cancer – but my prognosis is much better than it would be with a rhabdomyosarcoma. Liposarcoma is a less aggressive cancer that tends to spread locally rather than metastasize globally. On the other hand, it has a strong genetic component and tends to recur in other locations, and if it does spread to the lungs, etc. it can get nasty fast. For the moment, however, I am (probably) not dying – at least not any faster than expected.
At this point, it doesn’t look like I am going to need chemotherapy. I may even be able to skip radiation therapy if surgery successfully removes all traces of the cancer. The surgery itself – scheduled for late next month – may be a little tricky, however. The surgeon will be removing most of the sartorius muscle from my thigh. Depending on how much of the inner structure of the leg is exposed, they may have to move a muscle from my calf up into my thigh. With luck, I will retain most or all of my leg function.
Obviously, a malignant tumor is bad news. I’m pretty annoyed about the entire thing, especially since it’s happening during the Mists of Pandaria beta. But hey … at least I am (probably) not dying in the next two years.