Osteosarcoma at the Proximal Tibia
Age at Diagnosis: 13
Year of Diagnosis: 1989
Location: Florida, USA
Diagnosis: I was thirteen and active in dance and track without a worry in the world, until my right knee started aching. It continued and worsened and my parents thought I had torn a ligament, but unfortunately that wasn’t the situation. I had a MRI and they found a grey area, then I went to the hospital for a biopsy which showed it to be malignant, and almost instantly I was put in the hospital to start my chemo treatments. This was the most awful experience. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, especially a teenager. I had no clue as to what was happening. I didn’t even know I would lose my hair until it started to fall out. I wasn’t the nicest child; I didn’t understand why this was happening to me and I was quite bitter at the time.
Treatment: I had chemotherapy 24 hours, 7 days a month in the hospital. I would get quite sick, and when I went home I didn’t get my energy back until about the time it was time to go back for more treatment. After six months of chemo, they performed my surgery. I had an 8 hour surgery with which they removed seven inches of my right tibia and replaced with a donor bone and then put a metal plate and twelve screws and an artificial tendon in my knee.
Recovery: I went through physical therapy on learning how to walk again with my new leg and working a strengthening my muscles and knee. It actually took me about ten years to accept what I had gone through, but I do love the fact that I’m alive and have my leg, even it’s an interesting looking leg. I definitely have had my share of problems throughout the years, with back problems from the crutches and favoring my left leg, and pain from arthritis in my leg and especially when the weather changes. But I don’t have the wear a brace anymore, and there is a minimal difference in length. So I was blessed.
Further Treatment: Four years after I went into remission, the bone that they replaced broke and I had to have another surgery. In Arizona, where this all first happened, the doctor had told me that if my bone ever broke that they would have to amputate it. But because we had moved top Florida and the doctors were a bit more advanced, they were able to save my leg by taking half of my right hip, sprinkling the bone into the break, and connecting my tibia and fibula to be like one big thick bone.
Life Now: Life now is great. I was told that I possibly would not be able to have children from the chemo, and I have a beautiful 4 year old daughter. And we are expecting our second in February 2006. I have aches and pains, a limp, and still may loose my leg in the future. But I am happy with who I am now, and God will get me through my future as He gave me a future!
Thoughts and Hints for New Patients:Stay positive! If I had not been so depressed and asking “why me,” I think I would have been such a better person and not made certain decisions in my teenage years.
Pray for strength, and accept your life as it is, and live that life to the fullest!!!