Osteosarcoma at the proximal humerus
Age at Diagnosis: 44
Date of Diagnosis: 1996
Diagnosis: I had extreme pain in right shoulder joint and was sent to local hospital for x-rays. I also had CT scans, and the consultant said they could not find anything significant. My shoulder started to swell badly, and my GP had me admitted to hospital for tests. I was eventually sent to see a specialist in another hospital. We are talking about a 14-month time frame here. At last, I found someone who knew what she was doing. This woman literally saved my life. Give me a professional woman every time.
Treatment: My surgery was pretty extensive (forequarter amputation). I had chemotherapy before amputation, but none afterwards, I am glad to say. My body fought with the chemotherapy all the time and made me very ill. I would never have it again. My operation lasted 5-6 hours, and the surgeon did a brilliant job. I owe her my life and could not praise her highly enough, unlike some of the others in local hospital – all men I might add.
Recovery: My recovery went like clockwork. I was out of hospital in 10 days and having no pain. It was brilliant after the 14 months of hell I had suffered. I was lucky to be alive, incidentally. The surgeon told me tumor was size of small cabbage. I am naturally left-handed so I guess that was a bonus, if you could call it that. I had no problem getting used to being without right arm. It had been useless to me for such a long time anyway.
Life now: It has been 11 years now since I had my arm amputated, and I have never looked back. I am no longer married, but that would have happened anyway. I live on my own; I am extremely independent. I am a very determined and stubborn person and never give in to things, but i guess that is what helped me to survive. I keep myself extremely fit, run about 3-5 miles everyday, and also train with weights to keep in shape. If my arm grew back tomorrow, I would not know what to do with it.
Thoughts and Hints for Patients: Always keep positive mentally; never give up no matter what happens. A lot of the healing comes from within. Find out as much as you can about your illness. Ask questions all the time. Get to know your own body. Never take anyone’s word for anything. Check it out; do your own research. Medicine is not an exact science, you know, so be self reliant. It has worked for me. After all you have nothing to loose and everything to gain. GOOD LUCK.