Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's not over yet.

After yesterday's blog post, I learned a lot more about what my biopsy results mean.  So I'll try to explain it in a better manner.  Meaning, I'll try to make it comprehensible.

To put it in context, my pain was under my right rib cage, on the left side of the abdomen a bit lower, and it often radiated (in a stabbing manner) into my left shoulder.  She found the weird-looking implants on my liver and all around my peritoneum, which is the lining of the abdominal cavity, right where I was having pain.  She thought they were endometriosis, but biopsy proved otherwise:  they are peritoneal mucin implants.

These things are rare (of course).  And mine are benign, thank goodness, but those are even MORE rare than the malignant ones.  Mucin is a gel-like substance that is usually associated with the ovaries or the appendix.  If those organs get sick, as in they get a tumor, that tumor can burst, which leaks mucin all over the peritoneum.

The mucin latches on, and implants into the ultra-sensitive peritoneum and surrounding organs...usually the liver or spleen.  When this happens, inflammation and, often, infection (as in my case) happens, causing a sort of limited peritonitis.  The immune system is activated, and attacks these areas, causing a cycle of inflammation and pain.  The result is a benign form of  pseudomyxoma peritonei.  Benign only in that it isn't cancerous.  It can cause a lot of problems, including bowel obstructions, damage to vital organs, and, of course, severe pain.  They are also associated with weight loss (given the constant state of inflammation--takes a lot of calories to try and eat up those implants) and general fatigue.  It is considered a serious condition which needs very aggressive treatment to a) determine the cause and b) remove all implants COMPLETELY.  They can recur if not removed correctly or "deeply" enough.

We don't know what caused mine, but something mucin-containing had to rupture.   Luckily, I live just an hour and a half from someone who actually specializes in this stuff.  Finally, someone who knows about what I have.  His name is Dr. Eric Wiekbe, and he's at the IU Simon Cancer Center.  He's on vacation til June 6, but I should be able to see him shortly after that.  He has excellent credentials, and has listed on his biography...specializes in cancers of the peritoneum.  I hope he can deliver.

So, it's not over yet.  We know what we're dealing with, at least, but it appears there is maybe (likely?) more to be done.  This may mean more surgery.  This, of course, would interrupt Chicago training.  But I don't care.  I've got to make sure I get this fixed.

Other news:  Hip flexor continues to plague me.  I don't feel it when I run, only after.  Ready for it to be gone.  Tornadoes are all around.  10 miles total tomorrow...split into two runs.

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