The problems started in late 2008, I realised when playing rugby my left boot was more stretched than the right and after training/match days swelling increase around my foot.
An x-ray around late December 2008 showed a fracture (1st metatarsal) but nothing more thought of it. After several blood tests & trying to understand the problem, a second x-ray in October/November 2009 started the ball starting rolling and excluded many other medical possibilities up until Jan 2010. Before I started treatment I had one last rugby match which was amazing. Equally amazing were charity bike rides, watching my brother graduate from university, 'pass out' at Sandhurst as an Officer and all other support during my treatment.
I went on the Ewing's 99 trial where people reading this might be aware of the pre-selected treatment destiny depending on treatment response. For me, this was six cycles of VIDE chemotherapy and after Surgery (July) at Stanmore from an amazing surgeon, a further eight cycles of VIA chemotherapy. The surgery removed the whole of the 1st and 2nd metatarsal along with a few other bones instead of the usual below knee amputation - hence why the surgeon was a genius. Around May 2011 I was well enough to start my physiotherapy with my walking and stability after finishing chemotherapy while blood levels returned back to an accepted level.
I'm not going to lie, the treatment was challenging and I have some poignant memories. Experiencing what the illness can do to others on the ward, being unwell on my dad's 50th birthday due to post chemo infection (after cycle 5), seeing my foot for the first time after surgery, losing a friend (also with a Ewing's Sarcoma), trying to celebrate 2010 New Year in hospital exhausted and feeling very poorly during cycle 13. All these memories make me appreciate feeling healthy and day to day life.
Today, I couldn't be in a better place. Back to full time work, going to gym, supporting my rugby team and just completed cycling Paris to Leicester (300miles) in less than 80hours. This was a special trip for me personally because my brother joined me and we went past the Stanmore Hospital and it was just over the anniversary of the operation. My brothers and many friends cycled Leicester to Lands End to support me throughout my treatment in 2010.
For me, it is the work of family, friends, fundraising activities, charities, health professions and drugs which got me through the difficult periods and I am eternally grateful. I now feel I appreciate the more simpler things in life. I can honestly say I regularly count myself lucky and send thoughts to all those people I don't know who are either not as fortunate as me or currently undertaking their own battle against cancer.