Bone metastasis are no fun. When I was diagnosed in 2017 with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer, it was because of metastasis in my bones, all of them. On on a bone scan or x-ray, the lesions/tumors/mets show up as black spots; on a PET/CT, the same areas show up as bright lights, demonstrating the active metabolic rate of growth of the cancer. Regardless of which test, it’s scary to see how much is there that shouldn’t be.
One thing about bone metastases is that even when the cancer has been killed by the medication, there are still holes and scarring left behind. Even healing bone can show up as metabolically active. So it’s hard to know sometimes if a mark on a bone or a symptom of pain is cause by cancer growing or the cancer dying.
I do like to imagine a face on the cancer cells and the cells screaming in agony as it dies — it’s a good visualization technique when I’m feeling out of control or needing to something. Also quite satisfying.
Bottom line? While bone metastases are not a typical cause of death since broken or shattered bones are not usually fatal, living with bone mets is not fun. Pain, aches, discomfort, tightness, etc., are all likely side effects of the cancer absorbing and taking over the bone cells and continue long after the actual cancer cells are dead.
Understanding the type of cancer you have, the subtypes, the type of mets, and affects of a type of met, etc., these are all important things to know, whether you are living with cancer or supporting someone who is. The more we know, the better we can understand and support each other.