I was 7 years old when I first developed symptoms, which were pain in my femur that stopped me sleeping it was that bad. The pain went after about a week. Then nearly 12 months later the pain returned. I had visited the doctors however it was diagnosed as growing pains. They kept saying it was growing pains and would stop. Luckily one doctor took notice and referred me to Great Ormond Street, and they did a biopsy and found what it was.
If my Mum hadn't kept pushing the doctors, they wouldn't have found the rightful diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma.
I was 8 when I officially got diagnosed in 1987. I had around 14 courses of chemotherapy and had my right hip and femur replaced and as a result I have had multiple revisions since. Family and friends are key to getting through cancer. The NHS were also brilliant on a whole. In particular, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and Great Ormond Street where I had my surgery and chemotherapy, were superb for support then and now. The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital are still keeping me walking and developing new techniques to keep my leg. My original surgeon Mr Kemp retired after my first operation, since then Professor Tim Briggs kept me walking and rebuilding things no matter what I got up to, and all the things I was told I shouldn't do but carried on and did anyway.
Despite my diagnosis, it didn’t stop me from doing my favourite thing as a child, karting. My mum and surgeon hated me doing this, but it didn't stop me… as you will see by the broken arm in the picture below (I broke it after being let out of hospital for a weekend after my first replacement) and again later on, karting in my hip brace after another replacement of my femur.
I finished my treatment in 1988 and was given the all clear. Unfortunately, I have now worn out another hip, so I am waiting to go back to see my surgeon to see what they need to do next.
I am now 41 and never thought I would be able to have children because of the chemotherapy, but my wife, Alison and I now have 2 children, Georgia who is 13 and Joshua who is 12. I did secretly worried about my children as they got to the age I was diagnosed, even though I knew it wasn't hereditary. When my Son had pains in his knee a few occasions I pushed the GP to send him for X-rays to double check after my symptoms were dismissed.
The earlier a primary bone cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of survival. So, don’t feel bad to get something checked. It’s better to get something double checked.
Now having my own children, I realise how hard it must have been for my family at the time watching me go through it and how selfless my sisters were while my mum spent all her time at hospital with me and then they had to spend their nights at hospital after my dad got home from work.
There are lots of things I must be careful doing or can’t do due to my replacement femur, but you must try and not focus on what you can’t do and focus on what you can do.
Don’t give up, keep fighting. And do things you enjoy! There are always new developments and discoveries.