Osteosarcoma at the Tibia with Lung Mets
Age at Diagnosis: 14
Date of Diagnosis: 1986
Location: United Kingdom
Diagnosis: My story starts in the autumn of 1986 when I was 13. I was a very active sportsman playing football for both school and local teams and was also undertaking trials for S*bleep*horpe United junior teams. I was always getting knocks and bruises that usually healed very quickly. However this time I noticed that one particular injury had left a permanent lump on my right knee. I went to the doctors with my mum but was told that this was just a fluid build up as a reaction to the injury; I was given diuretics to remove the swelling. However by the Christmas of 1986 the lump had grown massively in size and walking more than 500 yards was becoming a problem.
My mum decided drastic action was needed and took me to the local hospital where a consultant was called who ordered an immediate biopsy, as he had just been on a course in Birmingham and recognized that it was a tumour straight away (a massive stroke of luck for me).
Treatment: So on New Years Eve 1986, I was in surgery having the biopsy. Everything happened quickly after that; my parents were told that it was cancer and that amputation was the only option. I was also taken into St James Hospital in Leeds for chemotherapy. On getting to Leeds my parents were told that as an alternative to amputation there was new radical surgery in Birmingham to replace the diseased bone with a metal prosthesis.
I underwent the surgery in the April of 1987 and continued with the chemotherapy until August of 1987. After that I went into remission and spent my time trying to get mobile again. However in the March of 1988 I was told at a regular check up that the cancer had returned in my right lung so I underwent more surgery to remove a third of my right lung and underwent 8 more doses of chemotherapy.
Recovery and Metastasis: All went well after this and I went back to school, did my GCSE,s and went on to college to do A-levels. Unfortunately I continued to have problems with my right leg after the surgery and had a permanent limp and mobility problems due to muscle loss and infection. In October 1990 another lump was found in the remains of my tibia and I was told I needed an immediate amputation of my right leg. This was done and no further treatment was offered as I had had all the chemotherapy my body could take. From now on it was all a case of trusting to luck and hoping the cancer would not return for a fourth time.
Life Now: It is now 2006 and I am happy to say as I sit here writing this that I am fit and healthy and have been told at my yearly check ups that I am totally clear of the disease. I have, I think, adjusted to my artificial limb, but like anyone I do have my bad days.
In the last 15 years I have gone into work first as an insurance broker and now as a civil servant for the Department of Work & Pensions, working with people with disabilities who want to get back to work. I have also gone on to play amputee football for 9 years playing for England in tournaments all round the world. In a way, a positive from the cancer has been to achieve this and visit parts of the world I may not have seen otherwise. It has also allowed me to meet interesting and extraordinary people who have also overcome disabilities.
As I look to the future I hope to remain healthy and happy and give something back to the people who helped me overcome my cancer. If anyone wants to contact me who has been recently diagnosed with an Osteosarcoma. I can be contacted through the Bone Cancer Reseach Trust and support group.
Thoughts and hints for new patients: To try and be positive in very dark times and set goals for the future. Never give up trying and realise that things can be better with time.