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"I felt hopeless until I saw that there was something that could be done."
I was diagnosed with Hereditary Multiple Exostoses (HME) as a child. This is a rare medical condition in which multiple bony spurs or lumps (also known as exostoses, or osteochondromas) develop on the bones of an adolescent or young adult. These bone tumors are usually benign or non-cancerous.
I was a military wife and had two children by the age of 20. Early in my 20s, I noticed a bump on the right side of my pubic bone in the front of my pelvis that was aching. I didn’t think much of it, but decided to consult with a military orthopedic surgeon. He took some x-rays and decided the bump should come out and attributed the “exostoses” to be part of my HME. About 2 ½ years later I had a reoccurrence of the bump and the pain, and went in for another evaluation. X-rays were taken and the orthopedic surgeon described my new “bump” as looking different than my first tumor.
I was sent to an orthopedic oncologist who made the diagnosis of chondrosarcoma. A person with HME has an increased risk of developing a rare form of bone cancer called chondrosarcoma as an adult. I had surgery to remove my right pubic bone, ischium, pelvic floor muscles and surrounding tissue. Over the next eleven years I had seven more surgeries to remove additional tissue.
As time progressed, I started to notice pain in my right sacroiliac (SI) joint and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. The pain was constant and I had good and bad days. I managed my pain with over-the-counter medication, heat, and activity modification. My symptoms progressed to a sharp pain in my lower back and pain down the back of my leg. I was having difficulty sleeping and walking. My whole lower back hurt and I could not figure out exactly what was going on. I was seen by a rheumatologist who ordered an MRI and CT scan. Her diagnosis was degeneration of the lumbar spine and right SI joint. I was prescribed physical therapy and narcotic pain medications which gave me minimal relief. I used a cane to walk and stopped going out with friends. I truly felt isolated. I then tried epidural and SI joint steroid injections. Both helped manage my pain and I continued to have an injection 3 times a year for the next 20 years.
When the injections into my SI joint no longer gave me pain relief, I started to research my options on the internet. I found the SI-BONE website and asked my treating neurologist for a referral to a surgeon trained on the iFuse Procedure™.
In December 2016, I underwent a right SI joint fusion utilizing the iFuse Implant System®. After waking up from surgery, they asked my pain level and I replied, “I am not really having much pain.” I am more active now than I have been in 20 years. I run an online support Facebook page for patients with Chondrosarcoma, am a member of the Bonsai club, and volunteer at my local cat rescue. I have 8 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren, and 6 cats that keep me very busy. I love to garden and go to the movies. Most recently, I attended our county fair, something I have not been able to do in a very long time.
The SI BuddySM program is reserved for patients who have been diagnosed by a trained surgeon and recommended for the iFuse procedure. SI Buddy volunteers have been successfully treated with the iFuse Implant System®. They are not medical professionals and their statements should not be interpreted as medical advice.
The iFuse Implant System is intended for sacroiliac fusion for conditions including sacroiliac joint dysfunction that is a direct result of sacroiliac joint disruption and degenerative sacroiliitis. This includes conditions whose symptoms began during pregnancy or in the peripartum period and have persisted postpartum for more than 6 months. It may not be appropriate for all patients and all patients may not benefit. For information about the risks, visit: www.si-bone.com/risks.