A couple of months went by and my knee started to ache slightly. I used to play a lot of football so didn't think anything of that either. I did go to the doctors and he told me I could have torn a thigh muscle and gave me some ibuprofen for the pain. These helped a lot. I carried on playing football and still the same pain came even on the pain relief tablets. I went back to the doctors again and he told me to cut down on the football and rest my leg, use the r.i.c.e. method and it should calm down by itself. By now it was getting to late November 2006 and my leg had started swelling quite a lot in around a month and half to two months. Again to the doctors. This time I changed my doctor and asked for a different opinion.
He said he was concerned that the growth could be a blood clot and wanted me scanned as soon as possible so I went across the road from my doctors to the James Cook Hospital in Middleborough. After about two hours, an ultrasound scan, two bone x-rays and an m.r.i. scan I was free to go!
It was the very next day that my doctor called me back in and explained that there was a chance I could have cancer. The growth on my thigh was osteosarcoma!
Within a week I had been referred up to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle where I met Mr. Gerrand, he's an Orthopaedic Surgeon there and quickly arranged for a biopsy. After the biopsy confirmed osteosarcoma Mr. Gerrand explained what he wanted to do and what the plans were. He told me that he wanted to go for cure and we had a real chance of doing so, so a week later I was receiving chemotherapy at the Northern Centre for Cancer Treatment. My chemotherapy lasted from late November 2006 up until the end of June 2007 and was quite aggressive! I was not out of hospital for more than two weeks as I would come down with some kind of infection and have to be brought back in and quarantined! In between that I had an operation in February 2007 in which Mr. Gerrand removed the affected part of my femur (Strangely the tumour had not progressed into my knee) which was around 22cm I think, then blasted the femur with radiation until satisfied all remaining cancer cells had gone and then put my femur back in and plated it up. I lost a little bit of muscle that was affected by the cancer but can walk for quite a distance unaided now.
Mr. Gerrand was hoping that the bones would unite together with time and would heal just as a normal broken bone would do. Only part of my leg had united by March 2008 so I had to undergo another operation in which some bone was taken from my hip and used to help fuse the femur bone together again. I have seen Mr. Gerrand twice since then and the last time we met my bones were starting to fuse together slightly! That was in July and I go back to see him in November.
I am starting to get back on with my life now and by the time I can go back to work it will have been around two years since I was first diagnosed. Those two years were quite a battle both physically and mentally but one thing I can say I have learned is that nothing worth having comes easily.