Ella has kindly shared her story to raise vital awareness after being misdiagnosed by her GP and at A&E.
My symptoms started with constant, aching pains in my shoulder, which ran down my arms into my fingers for about six months prior to diagnosis.
The pain was very bad, especially at night. I also had a lump on my arm.
I went to my local A&E department several times. They told me it was pulled muscle and told me to carry on taking painkillers (paracetamol and ibuprofen) and to go back to physiotherapy, which never helped. I also went to my GP practice, where again I was told it was a pulled muscle and was sent away with naproxen tablets.
I remember the first time I went to the A&E department, I was told ‘we are not going to give you an X-ray’.
I finally got an X-ray at a walk-in centre, and that is when they first noticed something was seriously wrong.
Once I had the X-ray I was sent for an MRI and CT scan and at that point, I was confused, not really knowing what it could be. A couple of days later my Mum got a phone call saying I needed to go to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for a biopsy. As I was waiting to have the biopsy I met with my surgeon and oncologist, who told me they thought I had a tumour, but not to worry too much as they were sure they could make me better. A week later I went back to the Royal Victoria Infirmary and that was when I found out I had osteosarcoma.
My treatment started on 18th January 2021 and I’m now (October 2021) on my 6th and final cycle of MAP chemotherapy, which I get at the Great North Children’s Hospital.
My surgery took place at the Royal Victoria Infirmary on 15th April 2021. The aim of the surgery was to remove as much cancer as possible, so I had to have a shoulder replacement and they also had to remove some of the muscle in my arm, which has led to the loss of movement.
Being in hospital for 5 days at a time for my chemotherapy treatment and not being able to go anywhere really made my mental health go downhill.
I had to initially stop going to college but have started to attend again when I can.
Unfortunately, as part of my surgery muscle was removed from my arm, which means I am not able to move my right arm anymore. This takes a lot of getting used to and has completely changed my life.
At the moment, the thought of life after treatment is keeping me going.
My message to other primary bone cancer patients would be to think positive and KNOW that you will get through it!
It is so important to raise awareness about the importance of early diagnosis as I had been to A&E and to the GP so many times being told I had pulled a muscle and to take painkillers and it turned out to be cancer. It was the last thing I expected. I feel it is so important to get checked when you have bone pain as you never know what it could be.