Ewing’s sarcoma at the ribs
Age at Diagnosis: 19
Date of Diagnosis: November 2007
Location: North Carolina
Diagnosis: I was having stomach pain and went in for a CT scan to rule out appendicitis. While that was clean, they mentioned that there was a three inch mass that appeared to be in my lung. My doctor tells me that I’m her only sarcoma patient to not have any symptoms. At first, the doctors didn’t know what to make of my tumor. It seemed to be in the space between my lung and ribs on my left side. We went from doctor to doctor until we arrived at the professor of surgery at UNC. He said he didn’t think it was anything bad, but decided to take it out just to be sure. After opening me up, they saw that it wasn’t anything good and took out my eighth, ninth, and tenth rib, and the nerve that runs along there.
Treatment: After the chest wall resection, my next surgery was a port placement. They started me on chemo three weeks after surgery. A five day treatment of Ifex and Etoposide and a two day treatment of adriamiacin, cytoxan, and vincristine every two weeks for a total of fourteen treatments, seven of each. I am currently receiving treatment and am halfway through. I get a transfusion almost every treatment– I just got number six yesterday. The doctor has had to cut my chemo by 20 percent to try and keep me on schedule. I get Neupogen shots for wbc and a booster for rbc. Masks in public– I have some that have nice mustaches drawn on them.
Recovery in between sessions isn’t much fun, but I’m making it. The first three days are somewhat hellish, but after those I feel pretty normal. My current problem resides in low platelets, which keeps delaying treatments.
Right now, I just go from treatment to treatment. I’ve started baking to allay the boredom in between treatments. Friends visit occasionally. Most are in college, which is where I should be. I’m going back in the fall whether or not I’m done with chemo. My ribs hurt. I haven’t sneezed since the surgery, can’t do a full yawn or take a sharp breath. I also haven’t hiccupped, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’ve had to change sleeping positions, too. My heart isn’t liking the chemo too much and reminds me of that occasionally. Overall, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. However, that doesn’t make it good. Oh! I kinda miss having hair.
Thoughts and Hints for Patients: Be patient. It’s hard, I know, but take your time with everything. After all, there’s not a whole lot for you to do anyway. Let your doctor know about any problems from the chemo. There’s nothing they haven’t heard, and most of the time they can help. Don’t be scared. Cancer is scary, sure, but don’t be afraid of it. Try writing letters to it. I like to tell mine how much it sucks every once in a while. Don’t be afraid to use the C-Card when necessary. Having cancer sucks. Use it to your advantage. Finally, stop making plans for a while. Just sit back for a while. You deserve a break, anyway.