That Sneaky Little Bastard…

Last week was relatively uneventful, that is until I started compiling medical records for my new Integrative Doctor. My goodness, there are a lot.

My father-in-law, a retired radiologist, reviewed my PET-CT scan back in September and didn’t see anything noteworthy. My vital organs were good. Thus, when I received the radiology/oncology report back, I tossed it into the pile of papers to review later. There it’s sat for four months, until last Thursday evening when I realized the PET-CT was performed in two parts, and distributed on two CDs.

I assumed that valley fever was gone, but had “confused” my autoimmune system and endocrine system. I discontinued my anti-fungal medications, relaxed my sense of urgency, and started working hard to bring my body back to baseline.

According to the PET-CT summary, there are three instances of “soft tissue nodular density” in the bones and joints of my legs, each around 1/4 of an inch in size (and over 50 smaller nodules). These locations overlay with heavily increased F-18 FDG activity, pointing to activated inflammatory cells (which have greatly elevated levels of glycolysis).

After finding the paperwork, I launched the CD containing the imaging scans and was able to identify exactly what the radiologist had listed, though quite obviously from a layperson’s perspective.

The second PET-CD captured everything from my kneecap to the tips of my toes. Over 70% of the tissue in my legs lit up orange like a sunshine-themed Christmas tree on the PET. In the corresponding CT, my appendages were speckled like a grown dalmatian–hundreds of black spots against a pale canvas.

It could be malignancy, benign tumors, or in an infection. My money is on coccidioidomycosis, that sneaky little bastard.

In September of last year, it was recommended that these locations (left knee, left toe, right foot) be biopsied for etiology and malignancy. I must have missed the memo…

Luckily, I have an appointment with one of my Infectious Disease doctors this week, so hopefully we can get the biopsy process moving, if he thinks that’s the best course of action.

Additionally, my new Integrative Doctor has prescribed the Anti-Inflammatory Diet and some new supplements, so I’m hoping my body will calm down a bit with an intentional effort.

So, here we are. Four years after first succumbing to valley fever, and after four years of rough health, I may have found my answer. Though, unfortunately, the answer brings with it anything but relief.

Though, my question now is why did six months of high-dose anti-fungal treatment not annihilate this? Could it be something else? A tumor, benign or malignant, perhaps?

Hopefully we’ll all know soon.

My kneecap via PET and CT… fascinating, right?!

4 thoughts on “That Sneaky Little Bastard…

    1. Yes, that is so very true! I visited with my infectious disease doctor and suspects that it’s merely masses of highly inflamed cells walling themselves off to protect my body. I’m trying not to read into things too much, and I really appreciate the analogy to art–it’s a timely reminder than we can transform “ugly” things into beautiful objects. Thank you for that. 🙂

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