He Ignored a Bug Bite Until a Doctor Revealed THIS…OMG!!!
Life changing events that can turn our lives around in a matter of seconds d occur daily. Many of them seem insignificant until we have a chance to look back over our lives and see how one action or one decision made the difference between life and death.
Forty-three year old truck driver, Brian Walker knows exactly what that moment feels like. A while back a bump appeared on Walker’s arm that he thought nothing of. Thinking it was no more than a bug bite, Walker paid no attention to it or his wife’s continued pleas for him to go to the doctor. Finally, fed up with his procrastination and his excuses, his wife Helen called and made an appointment for him. Her life changing decision went from nuisance to nirvana when her concerns proved to be well-founded. Walker who was amused by the “drama” of the situation changed his tune when his doctor sent him to the hospital where he was diagnosed as having a rare inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor. This tumor is so rare that there are only five recorded cases in the world. Had it not been for Walker’s wife’s persistence, Brian Walker would be an amputee or a dead man today.
The tumor which continued to grow had to be surgically removed. It had grown to the size of a brain. It was red in color and continually oozed fluids. Part of Walker’s arm was cut out to ensure that the tumor was completely removed. Healthy muscle and skin tissue were also removed leaving a gaping hole in Walker’s arm that had to be filled with tissue taken from his back. Brian Walker is a blessed man whose body wears the badge of courage that shows how close he was to death’s door.
So what is this monster that entered into Brian Walker’s life disguised innocently as a bump? Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT) is a rare benign (non-cancerous) growth made up of myofibroblastic spindle cells. A myofibroblast is a cell that is thought to be responsible for contracture of wounds and eruption of teeth. It combines the ultrastructural features of a fibroblast (a cell of connective tissue that produces collagen and other fibers) and a smooth muscle cell.
As is the case with most life threatening rare disorders, there may be many causal factors for ITM most of which are poorly understood. Few really know or can point to a single specific cause for ITM. It was first observed in the lungs of a patient in 1939. Some researchers believe it is a true neoplasma (an abnormal growth of tissue caused by the rapid division of cells that have undergone some form of mutation). Others, however, believe it represents an immunologic response to an infection.
A disease like IMT is no respecter of persons. Anyone, no matter your age, gender, or ethnicity, is susceptible to this rare disorder. It usually develops in children or young adults and seems more common in women.
ITM is comfortable anywhere on or in the body. It seems most comfortable, however, in the lungs, the eye socket, the lining of the stomach, internal organs and mesentery (small bowels).
As nefarious as the ITM that attacked Brian Walker sounds the disease begins as an asymptomatic benign irritant. But the lesson Walker learned is one that we all must remember: a tumor can be benign or malignant, but it cannot be ignored. Signs and symptoms of ITM vary depending on the tumor’s site but some common symptoms include:
- weight loss
- night sweats
- abdominal mass
- gastrointestinal obstruction
Unfortunately many of these symptoms mimic the symptoms of other diseases.
Surgical removal of the tumor seem the most effective treatment for ITM. The down side to this is that IMTs may recur and occasionally become locally invasive and then spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Standard treatments for cancer are considered when treating ITM.
Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor is a rare tumor that is most comfortable in the lungs. For some, like Brian Walker it attaches itself to an outer part of the body, but wherever it decides to lodge the results can be devastating. Don’t put off going to the doctor when something unusual appears or is felt in or on your body. Seek the help and support of a medical doctor, it could be a matter of life and death.