Giant Cell Tumor – 8 Months Post Op

Two days ago was the 8 month mark of my surgery for the tumor in my tibia.  I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that my leg is forever changed from it, and that’s just something to live with.  It gets stiff.  It gets sore.  It randomly hurts.  The nerve deadened area long since stabilized but doesn’t feel as if it has shrunk at all. It feels… delicate. Kneeling on it is a sketchy proposition.  And although I can now bend it nearly as fully as my other leg, doing so feels wrong.  Doing so, things within feel crushed and stretched and at-risk.

Despite the above paragraph, this isn’t a downer update.  I’m leagues from where I’ve been since the surgery.  I still don’t run at all, but I’ve begun mountain biking again.

I wear a guard over the knee and tibia, even on the tamest of trails, because I’m paranoid of not just falling but also merely accidentally giving it a good knock against anything.  Because the tumor was so large, and because of the hardware, and most of all because I’m so thin, there’s a sizeable lump on the inside of my leg beneath the knee, and hitting it even slightly against anything is painful.

The most I’ve ridden on single track so far is just shy of 13 miles – all on trails familiar to me.  I avoid most – but not all – of the jumps and drops because the impact of landing can be jarring.  It’s sore enough post-ride to encourage me to take aspirin.  In fairness, the physical therapists warned of this.  The hardware lies beneath nerves, tendons and muscle that inevitably rub against it to the point of irritation when I’m pedaling.

My next x-ray is in September, and will include my lungs this time.  I still have “scanxiety.”  I suspect I always will.

I hope that one day I can run again, but I’m beginning to think maybe not.  Quite a few people on GCT support pages do return to running, but almost as a rule they’re all at least half my age, which I imagine is a significant factor.  Regardless, I’m happy that I can at least mountain bike again.  There was a time not too long ago where I was considering selling my mountain bikes because it seemed like I’d never ride them again.  The message from this is – don’t give up, and don’t assume that where you are now has any bearing on where you’ll be down the road.  What seems impossible now may well be doable before you know it.

2 comments

  1. Bel

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU so much for your posts about your giant cell tumor experience. I’ve recently been diagnosed with this and am awaiting the oncologist, biopsy, and surgery — I so appreciate hearing about how it went for you. Thanks again and I hope your next scans are all clear!

  2. Maria Kelley

    I posted in an earlier post but I’m glad that overall you are much much better since your surgery. I’m glad you don’t sugar-coat things and express your ups and downs. I’m really eager to get back to running but I know it probably won’t be the same if I do but even still I wouldn’t care so long as it won’t be too painful. I’m 3 weeks post-op and I’m working on bending my knee. I’m still on narcotics but with the aches and pain it’s still necessary. Tylenol just doesn’t cut it and it’s sad because I really wish it did. But this has given me hope and I thank you! I’ll continue to recover! Bel if you see this I really hope you get to treatment soon!

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