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Worried about rib pain being mets

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245

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  • ShelMel
    ShelMel Member Posts: 20
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    Thank you barbe. I really do appreciate it. I'm hoping to get some answers Friday, but I guess it's all gonna depend on the radiologist who reads the scans. I know most don't say anything, regardless of what they look like.

    Argh! I forgot to mention the rectal bleeding to my onc! I'll call them today and have them add it to my chart. I'm guessing it's just a hemroid. It's only after a bowel movement but it's lasted for over 2 weeks now and it's more blood than I'm used to having with a hemroidal flare up. Who knows. But I'll definitely call and add it to my chart. Thanks for the reminder! LOL

    And thank you for the prayers!

  • Janie-bug
    Janie-bug Member Posts: 39
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    Hello everyone I came to the boards today to find information about rib pain and found this thread. I had pain suddenly start last night in the lower middlie of by back on my rt side. (the cancer side). It started suddenly when I reached back to rub it I found an area about the size of a golf ball that was very tender to the touch and when I pressed on it the pain took my breath away. It hurt all night waking me up everytime I truned over or moved. It is still painfull this morning. it dosn't hurt with I am sitting still but hurts with movement. Does Mets come on that sudden? should I wait a few days before getting it checked? I'm so worried but almost to scared to find out. I have had costocondritis before but it was in the front. Help please my heart is pounding and I am tring hard not to break down

  • Janie-bug
    Janie-bug Member Posts: 39
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    Bump ......anyone with advise ???????

  • Rocket
    Rocket Member Posts: 910
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    It could be a lipoma which is a non-cancerous fatty tumor. They can hurt and sometimes come after having had surgery like a mastectomy. I had one develop near my shoulder blade after my mastectomy and nearly gave myself a heart attack with fear. I had it checked out, and it was nothing to worry about. Try hard not to panic. Does the lump feel like it's in the skin? Is it moveable? Breast cancer isn't likely to spread to the skin on your back.

  • Janie-bug
    Janie-bug Member Posts: 39
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    thanks rocket for responding. Its not a lump but it's an area that is very tender to the touch and hurts when I press on it. it feels like its the rib.

  • Karen3
    Karen3 Member Posts: 37
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    Hi Janie

    I have exactly the same thing. I developed a really sensitive area on my left rib in May this year - it just felt as if I had severe bruising but of course nothing was there and I hadn't knocked it. I did however find a tiny hard lump where the pain was coming which was smaller than a grain of rice. I also found a small swelling at the side of that which seemed to be fluid. Since then, these sensitive areas have spread around my ribs, lower back and sternum. I went to the surgeon last week for my six month check up. I explained all this to him and that resulted in a CT scan within 48 hours (which is REALLY quick for the NHS). That was last Thursday. I have heard nothing yet so I am hoping that means nothing has been found yet - then again it has only been three full days since the scan. I am also scheduled for a bone scan on 7th November. I suspect all this is just some kind of inflamation following my bilateral mast last December after BC was found in my other breast. So, please know that you are not alone and get this checked out.The chances are that there is an innocent explanation for your symptoms but better safe than sorry. All the best to you! Karen.

  • barbe1958
    barbe1958 Member Posts: 7,605
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    Janie, sounds an awful lot like my truncal lymphadema!! Please let us know what they find.

  • CoolBreeze
    CoolBreeze Member Posts: 250
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    It is extremely unlikely that severe pain from mets would come on that quickly. Always tell your oncologist when new symptoms appear, but it isn't normal for mets pain to sharply and suddenly appear. I don't have bone mets but it seems the gals either don't have pain or have pain that comes on slowly. In my own case, with liver mets, it took 18 months before I felt anything out of the ordinary.



    Good luck ladies. Learning to live with fear of relapse is emotionally challenging. A lot of us have a two week rule before we see our doctors - that way we dont jombard them with every ache and pain. And, if you are a couple years out and living in constant fear, consider that you may have PTSD and get help in that way. (Not saying anybody in this thread has that, just info for folks finding this thread in general)



    Please post back and let us know.



    Hugs.

  • ShelMel
    ShelMel Member Posts: 20
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    Hi Janie - It wouldn't hurt to go get it checked out. I think CoolBreeze has some great advice, too. Please keep us posted.

    **Barbe - - My onc called tonight. It doesn't look good. Found 20-30 nodules in my lungs. Onc says that it's highly suspicious of mets. He's scheduling a PET CT and they're going to check all my other organs and see if they can find a nodule close enough to biopsy. As always, they won't say 100% definitively until they get that biopsy. He's scheduling the biopsy for next week, if they can find a good one to get to. I didn't even think to ask what we would do if they can't. He said it doesn't look like pneumonia or anything else, but of course, they have to get that tissue first. Blah, blah, blah.

    I'm in shock right now, shaking and trying to process this. The only thing I can think of is my kids and my husband.

    He said the pain may be coming from the nodules being close to the surface in the lining of the lungs under my breast bone. I still haven't told him about the rectal bleeding. It stopped and I forgot about until just now after coming here. Sheesh. Stupid chemo brain. 

    Anyway, I guess I'm gonna head on over to another thread for now.... find some wonderful support for this next leg of my journey. Love, hugs and blessings!! And barbe - thank you for listening to me. :)

  • barbe1958
    barbe1958 Member Posts: 7,605
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    Oh ShelMel!!!! How terribly frightening for you!! I can totally understand you being in shock, I certainly would be. How scared you must be, living your death over and over in your head...enough to drive you crazy! Please know that there is SO much that can be done, and deep down I know you know that. You know what I mean? But it's always the unknown that scares us the most. They are so wise to want to biopsy in case it isn't cancer at all, never mind breast cancer! Also the pathology could be different from before, even if it IS breast cancer mets. Is there a better response with breast cancaer mets to the lungs than regular lung cancer? I wonder....?? When you go to those "other threads" you will read of many women who have obliterated their lung mets (Gemzar seems to be a great chemo!) and don't even have SE's. Thank God your doctors listened well. Please keep us posted here so we don't have to hunt you down all over the boards. With love, Barbe

  • kltb04
    kltb04 Member Posts: 234
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    ShelMel - I don't know you but this thread caught my eye (I have also had rib issues I have worried about) - and wanted you to know I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.  What a shock that must have been.  Please keep us posted as you find out more information.

  • Rocket
    Rocket Member Posts: 910
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    (((((((Hugs))))))) ShelMel! I too have rib pain and have had several bone scans all clear. I'm praying that this is something non cancer related for you. Please keep us posted.

  • Janie-bug
    Janie-bug Member Posts: 39
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    ShelMel.... I am so sorry you are going through this again.  I will be praying that it is something other then cancer. Please know that you Are NOT alone and there is POWER in prayer.

    Thank you Barbe, Karen and Coolbreeze for the advice. I hope you all know how much it means to me/and others when you take time out of your day to respond to our fears and questions. Thank you Sooo...much

    Karen I will be praying that your scans are all good

    ShelMel Sending you{{{{{{Ccyber HUGS}}}}}}

  • ShelMel
    ShelMel Member Posts: 20
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    Thank you everyone for the hugs and prayers and support.

    >>>Karen, please keep us posted.

    I wrote out an informative FB post for my friends and family today. Since this thread is getting so much attention, I thought I'd share it here. Especially if it helps someone else.

    I want to take the time to answer some questions that people have been asking. Right now, they're not 100% positive that it's cancer. They're 99% sure. I'm not sure how exactly they "know" it's cancer. I assume because of what it looks like and my history. There is a tiny percent chance that it's benign (not cancer) but the original prognosis is not good.

    I had a bone scan (clear! YAY) and a CT chest scan last Friday because I've been having pain that is gradually getting worse in my sternum and now ribs.The CT scan from Friday is what found the lung lesions.

    Onc said that normally lung cancer does not cause pain, but that I may have lesions in the lining of the lung that attaches to my sternum, which could be causing the pain.

    I had a chest CT about 6 months ago and it was perfectly fine.

    Dr. Mullins is very concerned because my last chest CT was clear 6 months ago and now it's not. The fact that 20-30 lesions have shown up so fast, is another indication that it's cancer and a very aggressive cancer.

    I am having a PET CT scan from upper neck to knees tomorrow morning (Friday) to see if they find any spread anywhere else (liver, kidneys, etc). Also, they want to see if they can find a good spot to do a lung biopsy. My onc said that they didn't see any good spots with the CT scan I had done last Friday. He wants to do the lung biopsy next week, but I am sure it will all depend on what the PET scan shows. Also, a PET scan can show the difference between benign and malignancy because it looks at cells on a molecular level. Also, this PET CT scan will determine the type of lung biopsy procedure I'll have to have.

    I had IDC breast cancer (Invasive Ductile Carcinoma) and it is an aggressive and reoccurring type of cancer. I had an onco-type test initially to try to "predict" whether or not the probability of my cancer could return. The high number being 50. I was 25. Smack dab in the middle. That was part of the reasons I had both chemo and radiation for my breast cancer.

    Dr. Mullins told me that getting a mastectomy and staying on my cancer meds will ONLY help the chances of not getting breast cancer again. He said that I could do all the right things, eat right, exercise, not smoke, live life completely healthy and if I was going to get metastatic cancer, I'm going to get it. It's already coded into my genes. Nothing I can do about it. The breast cancer could have been a precursor to metastatic cancer. There's just no way of knowing ahead of time. This applies to everyone. Not just me.

    Even though they didn't initially find the breast cancer in my lymph nodes (and that's a statistical gamble test by testing a few of the lymphs closest to the tumor) they did find that my breast cancer was vascular. It was traveling through my boodstream already.

    I really truly want people to be educated about cancer - all types. There's just so much to know and every cancer for every person is different.I hope this helps answer some questions you guys have. Thank you all for your prayers, love and support. YOu have no idea how much I feel them washing over me. I am so blessed.

  • Rocket
    Rocket Member Posts: 910
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    (((((HUGS))))) ShelMel. I'm still praying that it is something other than cancer, I will continue to pray! Do keep us posted.

  • kltb04
    kltb04 Member Posts: 234
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    ShelMel - I found that to be very informative, articulate, and heartfelt.  My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you as you continue in this process.

  • msjag
    msjag Member Posts: 64
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    Shel, you're amazing, helping others and sharing at such a difficult time.  Still hoping and praying for you that it is not cancer, like my onc said, someone has to fall in the "good" percentages, hope its you Shel.  Thanks for thinking of others at such a difficult time.  Please continue to keep us posted. 

  • barbe1958
    barbe1958 Member Posts: 7,605
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    Great post Shel, keep gentle care of yourself, though. It's all about YOU right now!!! Please know that.

  • CoolBreeze
    CoolBreeze Member Posts: 250
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    And, just so you know, they found lesions on my lungs that turned out not to be mets.  People have lots of lumps and bumps inside them, same as on the outside, that only we special people get to see.  But the number and rise of yours so quickly isn't very good, I must admit.  I like to be optimistic for people but having 20 lumps suddenly showing up would be very concerning. 

    The PET shows the metabolic activity along with a lesion.   But, mine turned out to be scarring from an old pneumonia so I don't want everybody to think that things in the lungs are always cancer - they aren't, even in a cancer patient and even in a patient with metastatic cancer, like me.  (Mine's in the liver).

    When you are ready, when you are 100%, come on over and join us on the Stage IV board.  We are very friendly and we have been through just about everything so somebody will be able to answer a question about any treatment they plan to throw at you.    I've seen lots of people with lung mets everywhere end up NED so don't assume it's over for you.

    Big hugs.

  • samiam
    samiam Member Posts: 39
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    Wow a lot of activity since I've been to this thread.  So sorry that there are many of us who are anxious and concerned.  I guess that is what that disease does to us.  I had my bone scan Thursday but do not yet have the results.  My appt. with my onc is next Thursday but I plan to call earlier. The rib that "hurt" lit up really brightly.  I'm very scared.  The technician kept asking me did you have trauma to this area?  How long did you have pain?  I have all these competing thoughts in my head A.)  Yes my symptoms felt like bone mets, the bright spot on my rib looked like the photos of mets (fairly long), the technician certainly seemed concerned and took extra images.  B.) On the other hand, the pain I had went away after 6 weeks and has been gone for almost two month.  It could have been a healing rib.  My surgeon was insistant it was costchondritis, my dr's saw nothing in my bloodwork indicative of mets.  Ugh.  The wait is killing me.

  • barbe1958
    barbe1958 Member Posts: 7,605
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    Aw samiam!!! That IS very scary!!! My hip lit up on my first bone met and the tech came out to ask if I had hip pain. As I was well-medicated at the time I said no. Doi!!!!! Then it slipped by that I was supposed to have a follow-up MRI on that hip and it never got done. Saw the report almost 2 years later!!!! Now they just compare them all to that first one and say that it looks the same! But this year a new area lit up with bone growth!! The bone is growing and impinging on my spinal nerves. They "say" it appears to be arthritis....sigh. Costochondritis is a form of arthritis too. The horrible thing is, if it was mets, they would radiate to relieve my pain. In my case, I've been off work for 1 1/2 YEARS and on 150 mgs of Morphine a day and on a cane full time!!! 

  • CherylinOhio
    CherylinOhio Member Posts: 149
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    So I was sweeping the barn last night and got a severe pain near the lower back part of my ribcage.  It has happened about 4 times before but usually goes away in a few minutes. This time I can still feel something this morning.  I don't feel a  lump just a little sore, it's just sore enough so that I know it's sore.  I can't tell if it's muscular or skeletal.  It feels like a really bad cramp???? 

  • barbe1958
    barbe1958 Member Posts: 7,605
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    Could it be kidney???

  • samiam
    samiam Member Posts: 39
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    Cherylin, so sorry to hear of your pain.  A lot of ladies with more experience than I have advised if the pain persits more than a weak or so ... then go get it checked.  It could be nothing, but it is always good to know the source of our pain.

    I personally am still on the "Is it mets?" rollercoaster.  My onc. believes now it is not, and I'm choosing to accept that for now.  We will do more tests in a a couple of months.  My bone scan showed a spot that looked very suspicious for mets.  However follow-up bone and CT scans show nothing there.  They say the lesion on the bone scan could be a healing fracture however, I'm not aware of a fracture and a rib x-ray does not show anything.   I had pain three months ago that went away after a few weeks and my blood work is good.  I'm choosing to agree with my onc and not insist on a biopsy.  He said it would be very difficult to perform.  I hope I'm making the right decision.

  • barbe1958
    barbe1958 Member Posts: 7,605
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    sam, you are making a decision that I would. If it's mets it will do something in the next 3 months to confirm it. That 3 months isn't going to make a difference in the overall picture and the pain of a biopsy would far outweigh any benefit at this point. I also worry about "annoying" the site...

  • ShelMel
    ShelMel Member Posts: 20
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    Hi guys -

    Sam, I know that making decisions like you're making is so difficult. I'm still going to be keeping you in my prayers.

    I'm sorry it's taking me so long to come back. I think I was just living in the denial world for a few weeks.

    Had my PET scan and it lit up all over my chest wall. So my Chest CT showed lesions IN my lungs, my PET showed lesions outside of my lungs.

    Had a lymph node behind my neck pop up really big, so I had a biopsy there. It was inconclusive, lots of necrosis and looked infected. After much discussion, my onc finally convinced me to do a fine needle CT-guided lung biopsy.

    Advice of the day: Don't ever get one done. Sheesh that hurt like hell. The lesion they got was right in the lining where the nerves are. It wasn't fun.

    Result: Inconclusive.

    After talking with my onc, he wanted to do an open lung-biopsy. I refused and kept insisting that it had to be something else. He is certain that it's mets. He sent me to a pulmonologist for a second opinion and I saw that doctor today.

    I bebopped in thinking that the pulmonologist would look at my scans and reports and say, "Oh, yeah, it's probably a fungus, let's run some tests." That's not what happened.

    He came in and said, "It's mets, you need to have a lung biopsy now."

    Ok, he said that AFTER some preliminary talking but he said that because the lesions are so specific and they're in my lungs AND my chest wall, it has to be mets. Couldn't be an infection or fungus or anything else.

    He gave me 3 options:
    1. Wait - and he said since I've got so many lesions so fast (last Chest CT 6 months prior was clear) he wouldn't advise it.

    2. Bronchoscope to get cultures of the lungs - which he said would take 2 weeks to get final results and he was confident nothing would show up.

    3. Lung biopsy resection - which he said I should get immediately.

    I'm scheduled to see the lung surgeon on Monday for consultation and scheduling. They said I'll probably be in the hospital for about 2 days, barring any complications.

    Reality hit me square in the face. Yes, there's still a tiny glimmer of hope that it's something else, until they get that piece of tissue with the cancer cells in it - but the reality is that it's mets. I'm still absorbing it all right now.

    I did the evil Google search for mets lung cancer and chest wall cancer. Don't do it, if you're thinking about it.

    Right now I've just got to get through these next few days and breathe again. I'm really going to head over to the mets board now. I think I'm going to need their support.

    I'm subscribed to this thread so I'll be keeping an eye on it.

    I don't know what I would do without these boards. All of you women are so freaking amazing. I am blessed to be a part of your lives.

    Much love & strength.

  • barbe1958
    barbe1958 Member Posts: 7,605
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    Shelmel, well at least you are getting pretty strong direction! A lung biopsy isn't a piece of cake but at least you'll be asleep for it! I know someone who got one and when they got inside there was nothing there!!!! I cannot imagine going through all that (she had her ribs spread) to find nothing. Your other biopsy sounds as bad as my pacemaker insert. Don't do it unless they put you right out!! Right??

    Here's to a quick and relatively pain-free experience. Make sure they give you the good drugs! You're still in my prayers....

  • ShelMel
    ShelMel Member Posts: 20
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    Thank you, Barbe. I'm not looking forward to it. The CT-guided lung biopsy hurt like hell.

    That's amazing that your friend went through all that only to find nothing! WOW! I'm still hanging onto hope, but I've GOT to face reality, too, so that I won't be so shocked when the time comes.

    I'll still be keeping you in my prayers too, I know you've got a lot going on in your life as well. :)

  • Leah_S
    Leah_S Member Posts: 1,929
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    ShelMel, I'm so sorry to hear about your mets dx. I don't have experience with lung mets (I have bone mets) but I know the ladies in the Stage IV forum will welcome you and help in any way they can.

    Sending love.

    Leah

  • msjag
    msjag Member Posts: 64
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    Shel, thanks for updating us, I've been thinking about you.  YOu still have all my prayers and positive energy.  I'm sure you're head is spinning.  you know we will all be here for you.  No reason not to hold on to that glimmer of hope, loved what my oncologist said to me,  "someone has to fall in those good statistics too"  Hoping its you Shel.