Snap, Crackle, Pop: Lytic Lesions and Multiple Myeloma
Last updated: October 2023
One of the biggest problems with a disease such as multiple myeloma is the damage to our bones. Though care is provided to control the cancer, the bones can and usually still take a hit. Upon hearing the great news that I was 2 years in remission, I was surprised by the warning that was attached: Watch those bone lesions.
What are bone lesions?
Lytic lesions are a commonly known term attached to blood cancer, especially multiple myeloma. Lytic lesions are spots in the bone where myeloma cells actually produce holes in the bone. The buildup of cancerous cells leads to too much bone break down and doesn’t allow for proper bone regeneration, which then thins and weakens the bones. These lesions can appear in many areas but commonly appear in various areas of the lumbar and thoracic vertebrae of the spine, the hip and pelvis area, and ribs.1
Snap and crackle: The reality of bone trauma
Breaking a bone or suffering bone trauma is a reality, which is why many oncologists suggest some form of bone strengthener. I usually forget that although I started treatment about 5 years into my myeloma journey (after watching and waiting), there was actually an earlier treatment for my chest sternum.
Early on, I found that there was calcification forming at my sternum (the bone in the middle of the chest), which left a visible, protruding bump. I did get a few rounds of radiation treatment and was advised that the location of the radiation may increase my risk of breast cancer later on (eye roll). I took my chances because this protrusion thing happening in the middle of my chest seemed to be of concern. The end result was that everything seemed to work itself out, however, the sternum area is very thin (as it shows on MRI film) because of that earlier treatment. So, any trauma to that area could snap my ribcage. Yet another crackle and pop to add to the good news, which can sometimes turn to bad news somewhere along the line.
The worry and what ifs
Well, this does all stay in my mind when I have family members who go a little extra with the hugs or my brother-in-law who uses a hug and picks me up off the ground move. I also wonder what would happen if I got into an altercation and the first hit was to my chest… lord! It’s crazy to even have to consider these things but you never know.
So yes, upon getting the news about my 2-year remission anniversary, I was given a warning to be careful of that sternum area as the bone is very thin thanks to that treatment over 10 years ago. Now off I go living my life, but I am ALWAYS, and I do mean ALWAYS, keeping this advisory constant in my mind. Could this snap be the one that can do me in? There’s no psychic ball so all I have is being diligent, cautious, and all of those good things that are part of the myeloma experience.
This goes back to finding a way to continue being the best you. I have a business in fitness so I know I need to be mindful during a lot of my day-to-day. I try to be cautious, yet still live my life. Who says I can lift those 10 lbs? I just remember, as always, that there are some limitations in my life today.
Life indeed, there's never a dull moment!
The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile….when you feel like it.
How do you feel about your support system?