Confirmation of incidental findings and foot surgery

A quick update on my incidental findings post the other day. The contrast MRI showed that the areas are indeed cysts and it is likely that they have been there all my life. They have nothing to do with the symptoms. Mostly I’m told that I need to exercise (which I do) and treat the symptoms (back pain). The good news is that it is not cancer, but also it is not something that needs me to see a neurosurgeon. The next treatment, if I feel the need for something more is an epidural steroid injection. This cannot be done until my foot heals – so no decisions for me to make until after I’m back on my feet again.

The sense of relief hasn’t waved over me yet. I was worried. I was worried about it being cancer, but I was also worried about it not being cancer. I was seeing outcomes that looked like a lifetime of pain. It didn’t sound good either way. So I’m relieved that it is neither at this point. I just wish these scares would stop. I really could use a period of time where I had no new worrisome symptoms.

Last Tuesday I had a minor toe surgery. I had put it off a couple of times. My podiatrist’s medical assistant had scared me a bit about the recovery. The doctor was a lot more causal about it. I didn’t like the inconsistency. But, alas, the pain in my foot got so bad that I had to do something. I could not put it off any longer. So, it turns out that I didn’t have as much damage to the cartilage in my toe as we feared. I did have something solid floating in the joint, which was unexpected and didn’t show on scans. This is likely what was causing most of the pain and swelling. So, it was been removed. The good news about that is that it is something that is likely not going to return. It means the surgery may actually fix the toe for the foreseeable future (rather than 7-10 years). After 20 years of pain in that toe, I have some hope that it will finally be relieved.

For the next week I’ll mostly be sitting on the couch or in front of my computer. Elevating the foot, teaching, or working on my dissertation. Exercise is on hold until the foot is better. Stitches come out in two weeks and we start with getting the joint moving again. I’m hoping to be hiking again within a month. Things are looking good again. And now, I feel the need for a nap. The stress of the last month is catching up to me. The back pain, the toe surgery, and my father’s passing has been a lot all at once. I could sleep for a week.

Feature Image by krozak@ CC 2.0 license.

  • Becky


  • And its not cancer! that’s the best news. I have multiple issues including degenerating disks in my back and RA. I do exercise but I had to modify what I do because of my back etc. I found a gym which has a bike with back support and also a stepper the same way. I gave up the treadmill because it has a bounce which exacerbated my back pain. Maybe switch up your exercise to help you get moving more and then you won’t aggravate the pain. In the meantime enjoy your leisure time while healing.

  • Not cancer is always a good result! That is odd that they found something solid and didn’t see it in a scan? You should rest. All of that stress and anxiety is not good for you, sleep, relax, let yourself watch a show on Netflix nonstop.

    • Ya, but I guess the xray was just the wrong angle. I saw the doc yesterday for a dressing change and he said that it was a piece of bone. Likely as the arthritis grew at some point a piece broke off and was floating in the joint fluid. I got to see the picture of my toe joint and where the cartilage was damaged. It is really odd seeing pictures of the inside of yourself – a feeling that is quite different then when you see images of your insides. The good news is that I’m healing well. He was actually a bit surprised at how well it is healing. I think the zinc supplements are helping – as that is what my body was low in due to celiac and zinc is needed for wound healing.


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