Back in February 2008 I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma of the femur when I was 14 years old. For about 4/5 months before being diagnosed I was experiencing pains that felt like growing pains and my leg was swollen and warm to the touch. I was also suffering from fatigue.
I was misdiagnosed by three different doctors at the same practice, but the last doctor I saw sent me for an X-ray and that probably saved my life.
The tumour had grown so big (it was 10cm in diameter at that point) it had actually broken my femur.
I had 9 months of chemotherapy - doxorubicin, cisplatin, and methotrexate – with surgery in between to replace my femur, knee, and part of my tibia with a titanium prosthesis. My chemotherapy was at the Noah’s Ark Children’s hospital in Cardiff and my surgery and intense physiotherapy were at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham.
It was tough but now, looking at me, you wouldn't know anything was different, although my heart has been slightly affected by the chemotherapy.
I learned to walk again on my bionic joint and after finishing my chemotherapy, I started to live independently after spending almost a year with my poor mother sleeping by my side.
My family and friends were amazing throughout the whole of my cancer experience and life after cancer has definitely been made easier for me because I am surrounded by such wonderful people. I felt there wasn't much professional support mentally once treatment finished and that was when I needed it the most.
I live my life as a fairly 'normal' person and in the 12 years since my diagnosis, I’ve finished school with 5 GCSEs, 3 A-Levels, and have graduated with two degrees!
My advice to others would be to speak up if you need help or want things clarified. Be an advocate for yourself and voice your own concerns.
Even as a teenager I knew that something wasn’t right and am so thankful that my teenage self and my mother kept being persistent.
Awareness of primary bone cancer is so important, because the earlier you can catch it, the easier it is to treat. If I hadn't been sent for that one X-ray, I wouldn't be here now.