Osteosarcoma at the distal femur
Age at Diagnosis: 16
Date of Diagnosis: April 1995
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Diagnosis: I was told that I had cancer after I had an x-ray for a fall. It was to be the worst news of my life.
Treatment and Recovery: I had limb salvage therapy and intensive chemotherapy. I had my operation in the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, England, where I received a prosthetic knee cap and femur. I was on cysplatin and doxirubicin; I had very bad reactions to them. I had a very difficult time dealing with my treatment at the time. I missed the most important year at school, and that was the last year of my exams resulting in me not having any qualifications. The doctors and nurses were fantastic during my treatment. I had physiotherapy, and it was intensive. I think I had spells of two weeks at a time over nine months.
I was also told that I could not have children, and this upset me so much that I underwent counseling with my family to deal with it. What a shock when two years later I was finally told that I was pregnant, followed by my second pregnancy later.
Life now: I have now overcome every fear I ever had in life, and have my two wonderful children to look forward to growing up. I am currently writing a book for my family on my experience. I still have lumps that I get checked out and so far no cancer. I am waiting to have my knee replaced this year, due to wear and tear over time which is causing a good deal of pain now. I have scarring of the heart, hearing problems, asthma and leaking kidneys (all from the chemotherapy), but I have my life. I enjoy everything in life. My children keep me active, and that is all that matters to me. I also have a close supportive family. I enjoy horse riding and going to the gym; I have also lived in Gran Canaria as a children’s entertainer.
Thoughts and hints for new patients: When I felt down I started to write a diary and wrote down everything from happy moments to sad and angry moments. It does help, even years down the line when you read back on what you have been through.
Keep your chin up.