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husband is 18 yr active duty

Posts: 10
Joined: Sep 2011

MRI found soft tissue sarcoma in his left gluteal region along with a lesion on his femur head. We see Ortho Oncologist for first time tomorrow. We arent sure if it IS in fact cancer or what. Any help would be appreciated....

He has been having intense pain since Feb (progressively worse since March). He had an MRI at Walter Reed in Mar and Dr said nothing to worry about now he had one at FT Hood and it says possible malignant fibrous histicytoma or chondrosarcoma and recommends a biopsy. We picked up the MRI from WR and Hood for civilian appt and the one from March says "biopsy recommended" ?????? im a little upset that Ortho @ WR said no need!

HAWVET's picture
Posts: 318
Joined: Apr 2006

Am not familiar with the illness, but thought I would welcome you to the board. I was going to tell you to post in the "bone" section, but saw that you are awaiting a reply. Unfortunately, there are only few veterans who visit this board. It is a great place to exchange information if they would only post.

The Head & Neck Section of this forum has some great individuals and their feedback is most welcomed. That is where I post although not as much recently. My cancer was over 13 years ago. Like your husband, the military was my first career.

Take care and hope someone will respond. I pray that all goes well with your husband.

Posts: 507
Joined: Apr 2010

I didn't see any mention of what branch of service but I know in the navy you can get your retirement paperwork in at the 18 1/2 point.

I also am unfamiliar with this area and I hope someone can help you there...

but I hate stressing it but if you get the retirement paperwork in and approved before they start talking about a medical discharge or a medical board or such they will normally let him retire and that will be a lot more money.

be sure to ask the doctors to speak English
http://sarcomahelp.org/learning_center/mfh.html site seems to tell you much about malignant fibrous histicytoma

Chondrosarcoma (kon-dro-sahr-KO-muh) is a type of cancer that begins in the bone (primary bone cancer). Chondrosarcoma cells produce cartilage as they invade the bone. Less commonly, chondrosarcomas can arise outside the bone, usually within adjacent muscles. Although bone cancer is rare, chondrosarcoma is the second most common type of bone cancer, after osteosarcoma. Chondrosarcoma tumors typically develop in the pelvis, legs or shoulders of adults over 40.

Surgery is generally the main treatment option for chondrosarcoma. If your cancer has not spread (metastasized), the cure rate is high. If it has spread, or for some forms of very aggressive chondrosarcoma, doctors may recommend chemotherapy.

If your cancer recurs at the initial site with no signs that it has spread, aggressive treatment can help you return to a cancer-free state. This may involve surgery, specialized radiation and ablation procedures (using liquid nitrogen or heating probes to destroy tumor deposits).

as for why the other doctor didn't figure it out... realize that these are more rare diseases and lets face it the military is not the best at spotting rare diseases

general things to know
1) make lists of what the condition is and how it is affecting him (you will need this again when dealing with the VA disability board)
2) I have learned if you give the doctor a sheet of paper with your questions on it and you take notes on a spare copy it helps medical appointments go better and you learn more
3) since these are more rare issues you and your husband are going to have to become experts on whatever they lead you to.
4) both of these conditions are sub conditions of Sarcoma. figure out for yourself why the doctor figured it was one of those two types
5) have your husband request copies of all the medical scans and doctors reports for these conditions (they will be given freely but you may have to go to a lot of different places and fill the same form out a lot of times (to get my full record I had to go to 20 or so different places in 4 different hospitals both civilian and military and now with the VA rating stuff that puts more info out there to another 6 specialists doctors.
6) ask questions here maybe we can at least rephrase them so you will get a better answer from his doctors.

good luck and keep us informed

Craig (finally on terminal leave)

bspangler47's picture
Posts: 145
Joined: Sep 2010

I totally agree about the retirement. I was medically board from the US Army due to cancer. I ended up with 75% disability from the Army. Which was alot more that I would of recieved if I would of retired with 50%. I am waiting for the VA disability to finalize everything which I started in April of this yr. Also I am not sure if you are aware you might want to check into filing for SSI disability regarding your health issues. Even if you are still on active duty and going thru medically issues even while on conv leave you can still receive SSI disability. When I was medically retired from the Army once I received my medical documentation back I went to kinkos and made a separate copy it cost me some money, but dont regret it. The VA will also back once they make a decision regarding the rating. Depending what state you reside in if you bought your own house, if you receive 100%, there is a chance you wont pay the taxes on your house payment. Plus there is a homestead act that helps reduce your taxes. I also contacted the utitlities companies I explained to them about being medically retired and on disability, there are sending me information and forms to fill out to reduce the rates.

I am glad I found this site and have been on here more. It helps me with alot of moral support

Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2012

Sorry to hear about your husbands cancer. One thing both of you will really have to look into and discuss with each other is do you want to get out now, or let the military do the treatment. I know, I know, all the downside of military medicine - but I'll tell you this; after working in the civy medical field for the past 7 yrs, it's not really all that different out here than where you are right now. It just depends on what Doc you get.

One advantage to staying put (and I realize this may be a bit late) is the money is consistant while you stay in. It will be more (usually) than your retirement. Think long and hard on this and if your base has a VA rep on site - GO SEE THEM!!! I used to work for a VA Rep on base and learned so much more than I could have ever learned on my own. In fact, it is a requirement at my old duty station to do so before checking out, and it has really helped a lot of people. You may find there are claims other than the cancer your husbamd is eligible for. Another thing to remember, is that the military pretty much can not force one to get a medical discharge or retirement. Being so close, I would look to get that twenty or even a few more if possible - the job availibility isn't very good out here right now and the cancer diagnosis will make it even tougher!

Good luck to both of you and let me add this... The thing that really helped me get through my treatment and become a survivor ( I almost died during treatment)is the wonderful lady who stayed by my side, supported me, drove me to my treatments, cared for me when I was to down to do for myself, put up with my chemo-caused nastiness (though she says I wasn't too bad in this area), and generally loved me. I owe it all to her and could not have done it without her.