Jessica was diagnosed with Adamantinoma when she was just nine years old. Maxine, Jessica’s Mum has shared their story and Jessica explains in her own words how her diagnosis made her feel.
January 2015, Jessica was sitting on the sofa one evening and I felt quite a large lump on her leg. I made an appointment for Jessica to see the GP. The GP didn’t really know what the lump was so said he would send an urgent referral to the orthopaedics department at the hospital.
The following day I received a phone call from the hospital, asking me to take Jessica straight to the hospital. I was shocked and winded, so much I couldn’t breathe. I knew it was serious if the hospital wanted to see Jessica so urgently. Jessica was taken for an X-ray and she gave blood samples. They could see a mass in her X-ray on her right leg and an MRI confirmed it was a tumour.
My maternal cousin died at 37 of Ewing sarcoma so we were beside ourselves at this point.
Jessica was referred to Birmingham Royal Orthopaedic Hospital for a biopsy. All this was within 9 days of discovering her tumour. The NHS were marvellous. We then had the longest 10 days of our lives to wait. The results were in and originally Jessica had Osteofibrous Dysplasia and the consultant decided to just keep an eye on her for the time being.
By April Jessica was experiencing some discomfort and pins and needles in her foot. An MRI showed the tumour had turned into Adamantinoma. The consultant decided it was time to operate and remove the tumour.
Jessica was given the option of a bone donor graft or using her own bone from her fibula. The words ‘you can have some bone from a dead person’ did not go down well with Jessica so she decided on the latter. Her operation was booked in for 4th June 2015.
The day of surgery approached. 4 hours after surgery she returned with a huge metal contraption on her leg.
The tumour was 8 x 6cm in size
The surgeon removed 12cm of her tibia bone with the fibula put in its place. On the X-ray it looked like two coke cans and a straw in between.
Jessica refused to look at the mechano set until we saw a little girl no more than 3 in age with an amputated leg and I pointed out to Jessica how lucky she was that the surgeons saved her leg. After that, Jessica seemed to be accepting of this fact and then actually became proud of the fact she had survived cancer and was on the road to recovery.
The next few weeks was really hard as Jessica struggled to
move. I had to get her out of bed, wash her, dress her as she had zero
mobility. I also had to clean her pin sites (frame holes) every week
meticulously. Jessica was wheelchair bound at this point but after two weeks of
rest Jessica went back to school. She is a bright girl and didn’t actually miss
too much of school and even the bits she did miss she soon caught up.
Over the next few months Jessica gradually learnt to use crutches so gave her a small amount of self mobility and five months later her metal mechano set was removed and replaced with a nice purple pot. Jessica was fitted some weeks later with a supporting splint. This was because although the bone has fused this was not enough to support her weight. Jessica continued to use her crutches for some more months gradually decreasing the usage and then walking free with her splint. In time her splint was removed for small periods and then gradually removed all together.
We are now almost three years down the line and I look back and think how did I manage, but you do, you get on with it and cope. Jessica so far has made a full recovery and we now have annual check ups. I pray every time for good news as you just never know what is around the corner and how things can just change your life at the drop of a hat.
In Jessica's own words...