When I was in 6th grade I was doing competitive dance and played soccer. I had bad pain in my left knee so my mother took me to the doctor. She said I was overly active and to take a break for 6 weeks. So I did. When the pain came back again the doctor told me to wear a knee brace while doing sports. That helped a little but not much. The pain would come and go, so I ignored it because so did the doctor. In 8th grade- 1996 I was on the high school track team, still dancing and playing soccer the pain in my knee was bad but I was not willing to give any of those up.
That summer I went to sleep over camp. I feel and hit my knee on a rock- no big deal until I got a bump that wouldn’t go away. I had my physical the week after I got home so I mentioned it to our NEW pediatrician. She felt it and kept her hand on it while talking to us. She sent me for an X-ray that day (a Wed), and that night I went to my friends summer home. The doctor called my mom the next day and said I needed an MRI and it needed to be done Friday. I had it done and we received a phone call around 7pm that night saying there was something on the MRI and whatever it was needed to be checked.
An appointment was made for me at Mass General on Monday morning. We went to the appointment- outside the office was a sign that said “orthopedic oncology.” At 13 I had no clue what that meant, but my parents knew. The same day I had a biopsy done and within an hour we had the results that it was osteosarcoma. I went home that night crying, afraid I was going to die. Wednesday I was back at the hospital to get my central line put it and to start chemo.
Treatment: I had 10 weeks of chemo and then an allograft done, then had another 7 months of chemo. What a way to start off my freshman year of high school! Before I started chemo my mom asked about freezing eggs because she knew it could affect fertility, but they told her we needed to think in the now not the future.
Life After Treatment: During a routine CT scan to follow up after chemo they found a cyst on my ovaries-totally unrelated to the cancer. They needed to remove it, and in doing so ended up taking the ovary also. I was told then I would probably never have children. I was devastated. Two years later I found out I was pregnant! I was a miracle and a dream come true. I now have 2 beautiful children 6 and 4. It is hard some days when my knee is bothering me and I can’t get around easily and I can’t really run. It is a constant reminder of what I went through.
Thoughts and Hints for New patients: People tell me all the time they couldn’t do it. You might think that but when you are faced with this you don’t give yourself an option. My biggest thing that helped me was I never let myself get down. I always stayed positive. You have to stay positive and know you are going to get through this!