• DJS's Avatar

    Has anyone else had a chemo-related stress fracture?

    Asked by DJS on Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Has anyone else had a chemo-related stress fracture?

    Well, the fun just never ends! I started having some pain in my right hip joint on and off in the last couple weeks after walking more than usual. It wasn't always a given, and it would go away with Tylenol, so I figured it was probably bursitis related to being on steroids for a long period of time (hello R-CHOP!). It still may be, but my orthopedist is pretty certain it's the beginning of a pelvic stress fracture due to chemo making my bones soft. It didn't show up on my PET/CT scan when chemo was finished because it was probably too small then, so I have to get an MRI (x-rays were inconclusive). When he explained why he thought it was probably a fracture...yeah, he's probably right. Oh well, at least I'm here to whine about it! Has anybody else had this happen, or am I just the Chosen One?

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • cris' Avatar
      cris

      I was having pain in my spine so they did an MRI & found that I had two slipped disc's, my doctor told me that chemo made my spine very weak which may have caused this. I can fix this with surgery but I told him let's get this up coming surgery in May done first. thinking of you!!!

      about 8 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar
      Peroll

      DJS,
      Having broken both my hip and Femur on separate occasions in January this year I can attest to the pain that can be caused by these fractures. The side effects of cancer treatments are wonderful aren't they? At least you might get a reprieve from the chemo while this heals. I hope that you don't end up spending 8 weeks in the hospital and rehab like I did. That is no fun and I am now 6 months behind on my sleep. This does bring up one point that all cancer patients should be aware of, that is you need to report any pains or issues that arise during your treatment. They may be nothing but it is better safe than sorry when even a cold can cause problem. Good Luck and let us know how it goes.

      about 8 years ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar
      IKickedIt

      Me, too. I had never broken any bones in my life (other than fingers while playing sports), and I've broken bones in my foot and my ankle all since I finished treatment. My doctors have all said that it is due to the chemo. First, my balance was fried so I'm much clumsier and I drag my right side so I've clunked by foot against pipes and other objects, and I don't lift my right leg up when I walk so I easily trip over uneven pavement. My doctors suspect that my bones are more brittle which is why I've had so many broken bones. I've clunked toes and while in the past, they were sore and bruised, now they literally just snap and break (the sound is so gross). My doctor sent me to have a DEXA bone scan earlier than normal just to get a baseline, and I am vigilant about taking a calcium supplement every day.

      about 8 years ago
    • TheSilverOne's Avatar
      TheSilverOne

      I didn't even think about bone breaks being chemo/cancer related, but did find it odd that a simple fall in December broke a bone in my hand and a kick to a table leg broke my pinky toe last Oct. Thanks for shining a little light on this for me. And yes, Peroll, good reminder we really do have to report the slightest observations! As a dedicated non-complainer I find it hard to make these connections. I just figure, oh well, just weird circumstance. Nooooo, let the docs rule it out!

      about 8 years ago
    • luvnlife's Avatar
      luvnlife

      Yes,yes,yes. Within a year or two of finishing treatment for nonhodgkins lymphoma I had big time pain in my left wrist, thought for sure it was carpal tunnel but noooooo, it was keinbachs disease . Was told to blame it on prednisone, had surgery at ucla to do a radial shortening and a bone graft to the hole in the lunate bone. Thank goodness it worked, no more pain, that was 1996. Then I started having a lot of pain in my hip flexors. That was diagnosed as avascular necrosis, no blood flow to femoral head, bone dies and compresses. Told basically like having fractured hips. Blamed on prednisone. Had surgery, core decompression both hips. Doesn't restore bones, just kinda stops the progression of the disease. That was 2001. Since then still have pain the next day if I walk a lot, I click when I walk, and sometimes just make a move that hurts. Been told that will need hip replacements some day, and I'll know when the pain gets too bad, but for now just live with it. Hip replacement surgery is no fun either. Now, some 20 years later I find myself babying my left shoulder cause it will ache after swimming laps. You see the hip problem prevents too much impact exercise so swimming laps is my exercise of choice and I was swimming an hour a day 6 days a week for years. Even thought my purse was too heavy so stopped putting that on my shoulder. Doctor said it could be possible that even all these years later can still get this problem in any joints. If the disease don't kill ya the treatment will. Needless to say I got a different steroid when I had breast cancer treatment in 2004! So I have found there's no magic cure, doctors can only offer more drugs or surgery, just gotta have a high pain tolerance and grin and bear it. Smile through your problems cause if you cry the problems are still there when you get done. I think everyone on this site tries to express their love and caring through their words. I hope your road is easier going forward, hugs to you.

      about 8 years ago
    • DJS's Avatar
      DJS

      Thanks everyone. Luvnlife -- smile through it? At this point I'm walking that fine line between laughing at my troubles and slap happy. The big lesson to learn, once again, is the earlier you get a diagnosis the better off you are. Even walking to the doctor's office I was thinking that I was being ridiculous, that I should have taken a few more weeks and a few more Tylenol before calling him. If this turns out to be a pelvic fracture -- and there's every indication that it is -- I have caught it at a stage where treatment will be a whole lot less dramatic than it would have been if I had been walking on it for a few more weeks. We've all learned how fragile humans are; after chemo we realize that we are like fine porcelain, at least for a while. If you are feeling an ache, pain, whatever -- report it to your doctor immediately. Better to be considered a whiner than wait until you've got a mess on your hands. Despite the possible prognosis, I still consider myself a lucky girl!

      about 8 years ago
    • luvnlife's Avatar
      luvnlife

      Oh yes DJS, I certainly agree. Every ache or pain I have gets reported to the doctor immediately no matter how crazy I sound and even when I have convinced myself that I have a deadly disease. Luckily most of the time it turns out to be nothing. I guess what I meant was you have to be able to laugh at what sometimes seems like craziness. I've been through 10 surgeries so far since 1993 just to address issues caused by treatment, but like you I really consider myself very lucky, all my problems were addressed and caught early. Sometimes feels like here we go again, but instead of feeling defeated I just take it as it comes and try to laugh instead of freaking out. My husband even can't believe the places my mind goes sometimes when I think something is wrong, but if you have never been sick you just don't understand.

      about 8 years ago
    • Schlegel's Avatar
      Schlegel

      I broke my arm in Armenia. That was fun. Because of the way it happened, no fall or other stress, I thought it was a rotator cuff injury. The Armenian traumatologist agreed with me and told me I could get it x-rayed there or here. I did not want treatment in Armenia because that would have meant flying back alone, so I chose to wait. We spent 3 days in Moscow, so it was 6 days after the fracture when I went to the UNC ER. They also bought my line about a rotator cuff injury, but said we'd better get x-rays because "the orthopedics people will want them." Surprise, I had a fractured head of the humerus. Oh, yes, I was in Armenia on a short term mission trip.
      I have also had fractures of teeth.

      about 8 years ago
    • Schlegel's Avatar
      Schlegel

      Forgot to say that my pain came on very suddenly.

      about 8 years ago
    • Crimson's Avatar
      Crimson

      Just came from the podiatrist - pain started in right foot after 3rd chemo, it subsided so I just chalked it up to nothing. Pain returned after 4th chemo and brought swelling & discoloration, tried to just treat myself, but it did not go away this time. Called to ask if this was a side effect of chemo & was told, "no", but check with oncologist. At 5th chemo, I showed it to oncologist. She said she had never seen or heard of this problem & to see a podiatrist. He's not sure, but thinks it may be a stress fracture - MRI tomorrow! Beginning to think cancer cure is worse than disease itself!
      Now I have to worry about the hormone treatment coming up, BMDs, osteopenia& osteoporosis.
      Every problem I have is poo-pooed by Drs & when I check internet or nurses, the problems do exist! Just have to keep checking & advocating for ourselves!

      over 7 years ago
    • DJS's Avatar
      DJS

      How funny that after posting this months ago I'm now part of a thread where the original question is after chemo are you a hypochondriac by fearing every ache, rash, and limp. Uh, no. This turned out not to be a pelvic fracture, thank heaven, but it was a torn labrum (when I was told that I seriously told the medical assistant, "I don't think I have one.") I have been in physical therapy with this since April with hopes that it will help it heal enough to avoid orthoscopic surgery which concerns my oncologist greatly -- evidently this could awaken any dormant cancer cells and start a rebellion. So far so good, with ultrasound cortisone shots helping greatly. This cancer thing really has many and long tentacles, and I urge everyone to go to their doctor(s) when they feel something's not right, because you need to catch things right at the beginning. If not, the complications can be much greater than they would be for someone who skips around never having had cancer.

      over 7 years ago

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