Opinions, Assholes and Uniqueness

I saw Dr M, an orthopedic surgeon, on Thursday. I was told to expect and arrogant and abrupt man but I was pleasantly surprised. He was sympathetic, caring and went out of his way to make phone calls to different oncologists while we waited. Unfortunately, he couldn’t reach anyone.

Here’s the gist of what he had to say. The tumor is located on the right side of my sacrum between L5 and S1. The nerves coming out of those vertebrae and being aggravated by the tumor and that’s why my lower leg is numb and why I feel so much pain in my right leg. The location of the tumor on my spine makes it almost impossible to surgically remove. It is in the sacroiliac joint – where the sacrum joins the pelvis to support the spine. If you cut out that joint, there is nothing to support the spine. He said some other things that Barb wrote down but all I could think of after that is – Fuck! Dr M assured us that he would consult with other specialists and get back to us ASAP.


See that #3? That’s where my tumor is located. The nerves that come out of the holes above and below the #3 are the one causing me all of the pain and numbness. #5 is the right side of the pelvis.


Here’s a different view of the entire pelvis and how the sacrum fits in there.

True to his word, Dr M called me the next day (Friday). I had to take a day to digest the “news” before sharing it. Dr M managed to consult with a radiation oncologist named Dr P who said that a tissue diagnosis (biopsy) of the sacrum is required to proceed any further. Dr P was of the opinion that no surgery should be performed and that both tumors should be treated with radiation and chemotherapy to see how they react. Dr M reminded me that Dr A’s opinion was that the kidney had to be removed.

Clearly opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. I just need a plan.

I told Dr M that I had fractured my sacrum in 1995 and have had sacroiliac joint dysfunction since then and ask if the “tumor” could be something else related to that injury. He said “no, it’s definitely a tumor” (so much for that idea). Dr M said he would speak to Dr F, a spine surgeon at VGH, to get his opinion on potential courses of action. He is still working on contacting him. Dr M told me that I was a unique case and that he would continue to try to find an answer. He said he would call me when he had more information.

So, clearly things aren’t as simple as I had hoped. I know I’ve always been different, unique whatever you want to call it. I remember my Mom telling me stories of my birth and how special I was – kind of like a miracle baby, given the difficulties she had with prior pregnancies. There are many stories of my “uniqueness” growing up as well – I won’t bore you with those. Except for this one, which my friends remind of every season: I grew up French Canadian and I don’t like and have never played ice hockey. WTF!? Yup, its true.

Just this once, I would like to not be unique.

12 thoughts on “Opinions, Assholes and Uniqueness

  1. Remember that your uniqueness also means that everything else won’t be unique either, so I take that as good news. Unique , unpredictable and unstoppable. So things may be different for you , then other cases, but thats not a bad thing. Makes them work harder to figure it out and come up with a solution. Thats how i see it…:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ohhh..Wendy is gonna lose it over my bad writing and grammar. I mean “will be unique as well”…. can’t figure how to edit. and I quite enjoy when my grammar bugs Wendy. 🙂


  3. You know what else is unique about you? You are strong, steadfast, practical and optimistic. You deal with crisis head on. You don’t whine and shrivel away and ask “why me?” You love your wife (that’d be me!), and you love your kids. You are appreciative of everything. I could go on and on. Not every man I know has all those qualities. In fact, my love, you are one of the few men I know with all those qualities. I hit the jackpot with you, and I know it. This is perhaps just a reminder.

    We will get through this. I promise you. I will be your rock. I will be your strength when you need a break. I will be by your side for the next 50 years. Right now we don’t have to solve all the problems – we just need some time. You know as well as I do of all the treatment advances. Right now we use what they’ve got until the next thing comes about.

    Our love and strength and optimism will never waiver. Lean on us, love. Xoxox

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ben is so lucky to have you Wendy. You are an invincible force! Remember, every good rock needs to rest. Take time to take care of yourself and recharge occasionally. Your strength, courage and will continually amazes me. I am so proud to call you my friend!! XOXOX

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Unique as per the Oxford Dictionary. Particularly remarkable, special or unusual. Yup. That fits. Everything about you is remarkable and special Ben, including your wife, kids, family and friends. In the future, your story will be the one we share with others to give them strength. The story will be about this unique cancer, the remarkable person, and the strength to kick cancer’s ass and WIN!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ben, I truly believe Doctors love a ‘challenge’. Your interesting case will inspire them to dig deep into their tool box and find a treatment plan and cure you. I bet you are all they’ve been talking about! 😷Those smart guys wearing the white coats will figure it out and come through for you! ~Kim V

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes I agree that unique can be good, just because it encourages the specialists to up their game. You’ve got the best medical oncologist in the province and I hear he has a hankering for clinical trials. He will rise to the occasion along with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with Barb. Uniqueness is a good thing which challenges many doctors to think outside the box and up their game.

    We are all with you on this journey kicking cancer’s butt!


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