Day 7: Tumor Twins!
In case you forgot or didn’t know, the type of cancer I have is called chondrosarcoma. It is a rare type of bone cancer that develops from cartilage cells. When you were a baby and a child, your skeleton developed slowly as bone replaced cartilage, which laid out a nice framework for the bone-forming cells to follow. If you’re like most people, these cartilage cells knew their role and disappeared like they were programmed to do. If you’re like me, a few of these cells (or so it’s speculated by many doctors) stuck around and survived between two ends of bones. From there, these stubborn little fuckers started turning other good, well-behaved cells into little bone-eating, gelatinous demon cells. It’s a very slow process, and apparently it’s been happening for all of my life.
Like I said above, chondrosarcomas are rare, but ones located in the skull base (where mine is) are even rarer. So rare that there are about 5 or 6 reported cases each year in the United States. Well tonight, I met one of the other 4 or 5 in the country who are just like me! I was sitting in the Hope Lodge kitchen, and one of my fellow 20-somethings here introduced me to a couple I hadn’t met yet. The woman (let’s call her Danielle), mentioned that she had to wear a mask, like me. So I asked, “What part are they radiating?” She replied, “Do you know where your pituitary gland is? Around there.” “Oh, do you have a pituitary tumor?” I asked. “No, it’s something called a chondrosarcoma.” Then on the inside, I felt something I never would’ve expected to feel: excitement. I stood up and shot my hand forward wanting a high five. She laughed, slapped my hand, and said, “You too?!”
It was such an odd moment of joy, I could tell she was equally excited in the same weird way. I spent the next hour with her and her husband sharing tales of our journeys to Boston, our shared love of “tumor humor,” and simply feeling slightly comforted that there was someone real and in front of me going through what I was going through.
Well, that’s all for this weekend. I’ve got a couple good posts I want to write this week. I just didn’t have the energy for this weekend (I don’t think it’s treatment side effects as much as me adjusting, though).
Week two starts tomorrow.