June 15, 1966 – April 10, 2005
Karen writes: Andrew was a very loving man. His family meant the world to him. He was a very hard worker. He was a baker following in his parents footsteps. Andrew worked hard and played hard. He liked to go out with his mates, but always put his family first. He had a lovley wife, Jane, a son Andrew and a daughter, Kirsty. We were a very close knit family, mum, dad, brother Carl and me Karen, his sister.
The Cancer Experience: Andrew was first diagnosed in January 1999. He was having a lot of pain in his right hip and felt a lump. He had a biopsy done and was told he had chondrosarcoma. Andrew had the first tumor removed and was clear for two years. He was going for regular scans and after two years the tumor was back in the same place on his pelvis. He had surgery to remove the tumor and then had clear scans for one year. Once again it came back. In all he had six surgeries, each time the tumor came back quicker than what they expected. The doctors told him the only way to cure him was to have his leg amputated. He went down for surgery on 6/14/2004, the day before his 37th birthday. When they opened him up, they found the cancer had spread to his spine, buttocks and liver. They did not remove his leg. The doctors stitched him up and sent him home the next day probably thinking he wouldn’t live long, but being so strong and not wanting to give up Andrew lived another ten months. Sadly, he died a terrible death. The tumors were eating him away. There were holes all over his body and he was in constant pain. I was relieved when he died. I couldn’t watch him another day. I was with him from the very beginning. I took him to all his appointments for years and I sat day and night with him for those last ten months. It broke my heart to watch my beautiful strong brother become what he had.
Andrew’s Legacy: It’s been five months since his death, but there’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think of him. It has changed my life forever. He was truly a legacy. Andrew was a brave young man and I feel so proud that he was my brother. God gave me a really special gift.
Living with Loss: My life has changed. I get really annoyed when people moan about the smallest things. My family has kept me going. I have a wonderful husband and three brilliant sons, they are what keep me strong. If I could turn the clock back I would be more pushy and question the doctors; knowing what I do now about chondrosarcoma, but it’s too late for that. Now, there’s no point on dwelling on it, who would benefit?
Advice for other Patients and Caregivers: Always get second, even third opinions and learn as much as you can about your disease.
A Note for Andrew: To my wonderful brother, I loved you more than I could ever tell you and I consider myself very lucky that you were my brother. You were a special gift given to me by God and like so many things, I sometimes forget to be thankful for you, but I would like you to know, I could never have chosen a more wonderful brother and I love you more than you’ll ever know. Karen xxx