In the summer of 2013 I started to have pain in my left knee and I went to visit my GP, who prescribed Ibuprofen and a tubigrip.
The pain went away and came back many times, each time worse. More Ibuprofen was prescribed. In May of 2014 the knee became very swollen and I nearly once fell at work. The pain was excruciating and the doctors kept ignoring me. I even went to A&E and I was just given codeine, a stronger painkiller. After visiting different doctors, the third one referred me for an X-ray but I felt he treated me as if I was a hypochondriac. When he saw the X-ray he called me horrified to say that I had a serious infection or a tumour.
He referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon who suggested an MRI scan, which I had a month later followed by a biopsy in the end of June.
I had the sad news on 4th July 2014 on the phone to arrange to see a sarcoma specialist as soon as possible because my cancer went undetected for so long (about a year).
Thankfully it hadn't spread, localised osteosarcoma, a 10 cm tumour in my left knee.
I was explained how complicated the treatment was, I needed neo-adjuvant chemotherapy (pre-op), surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy (post-op). When I started the treatment amputation was on the table but luckily I responded well to the chemotherapy and a limb salvage surgery was performed. I now have a titanium prosthesis and my whole knee, almost my whole tibia and a part of my femur were removed.
My oncologist asked me if I wanted to get a new drug as a complimentary treatment that would increase my long-term chances of survival since my cancer is curable. I was thrilled and I have a very good feeling about it!
My inspiration to fight osteosarcoma is my son Marco. I have to endure this treatment so he can have his mummy. I owe it to him.
However the treatment has turned our lives upside down. Marco is currently in foster care while I recover.
I would say to the people starting the treatment to remember that is a long way but is only temporary. I have a therapist who helps me a lot and there are Facebook pages where you can vent and find people who truly understand you, because you will find out that people won't get it, they don't walk in your shoes. You will also need to know about survivors' stories that will motivate you.
Allow yourself to be sad sometimes and grab every chance you get to be strong to endure the chemo. And remember how precious life is. Chemo will be well worth in the long run!