At just 17 years old, Hayden was diagnosed with Spindle Cell Sarcoma of the Bone. Hayden loved sport, playing football and tennis. Everything changed for Hayden following his diagnosis, but he has now come out the other side and is getting his life back; socialising, re-starting his apprenticeship, and taking up new sports such as kayaking, cycling with an adapted pedal and wheelchair badminton.
In January 2017, Hayden was just 17 years old when he noticed a lump on his left leg just below his knee.
Hayden’s symptoms started when his leg used to ache after running, he gave up playing football as afterwards it used to ache a lot.
He saw his GP 3 times before they referred him for an X-ray as they thought it was probably a football injury, the GP got back to us to say the X-ray was all clear. He then had a letter from the hospital with an appointment to see a plastic surgeon which we attended, and we were then told that there was something on his bone and that they were sending the X-ray to The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham to look at.
After this, things happened very fast. Hayden had an MRI, PET scan and a CT guided biopsy and 2 weeks later we were told he had cancer, but they didn’t know what type of cancer at this stage. It was later confirmed that is was Spindle Cell Sarcoma of the Bone.
The shock of being told he had cancer was unbelievable, how could someone who loves sport and is fit and healthy have cancer.
Hayden underwent Limb salvage, October 2017 and MAP chemotherapy 6 cycles over 8 months. Hayden recovered well after the surgery, but the chemotherapy was very hard for him, he was sick a lot, suffered from terrible mouth ulcers, nerve pain and extreme tiredness. Loss of hair was also very hard for him.
Samples of Hayden’s tumour were taken and included in the 100,000 Genomes Project.
Treatment finished July 2018, he now has check-up scans every 2 months and they will monitor him for the next 10 years, which is reassuring.
The most positive experience for Hayden is that he has come out the other side and is getting his life back, socialising, re-starting his apprenticeship, taking up a sport, but unfortunately his leg will never be the same and that takes time to get your head around.
Hayden used to play football, tennis, but is no longer able to due to his limb salvage surgery, this used to get him down but since chemotherapy treatment has stopped Hayden is a lot more positive and has been kayaking, cycling with an adapted pedal (as he’s not able to do the full rotation of the knee) and wheelchair badminton. He now drives an automatic car.
My message to others is you are not alone, talk about how you are feeling, your family and friends love you and want to support you through this difficult time. Hayden’s strength has been the support from his family and friends and awareness is important… quite simply because it can save lives.