My diagnosis was a lengthy process starting with a netball injury in May 2016. Several days after an X-ray. I was called back into A&E due to something they had seen on a review. I was referred to the local orthopaedics department where after blood tests and an MRI I was diagnosed with a benign lesion near my ankle (distal fibula). I recovered fully from the netball injury, returned to sport, and thought nothing else of it.
Fast forward to May 2018 and I started to notice pain and heat in my leg at night and in the morning. I return to orthopaedics. More scans, more blood tests and I was immobilised for 8 weeks. This led to a diagnosis of a benign chondroma. I figured I could live with the pain to avoid unnecessary surgery so again I gradually returned to sport and even spent 6 months in the alps skiing.
May 2019 and now the pain was stopping me from doing what I wanted to do. Again, I returned to the orthopaedic department. More appointments, more scans but this time, before I could go back to get my scan results, I had a phone call from a sarcoma centre to book in for a biopsy. This was starting to get serious!!
Then my world stopped with a phone call on the 6th August 2019. I was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma in my left distal fibula. I was 30 years old and I had cancer. Everything happened much quicker from that moment.
I was put into a permanent cast to protect the bone. I had to move in with my Dad who was an absolute hero, he looked after me like a queen. I was in active treatment for 14 months. I had the MAP chemotherapy regime, an amazing limb salvage surgery, and a targeted drug called Mifamurtide.
Family and friends showed me a huge amount of love and support during treatment...4 of them even shaved their heads with me.
Although I cracked on with a fake smile on my face, I hated chemotherapy. I hated how it took away my independence, I hated the side effects, and I hated the extra hospital stays. Then Covid came along… having nearly completed 4/6 chemotherapy cycles the risks outweighed the benefits of me continuing during a pandemic. My chemotherapy had to stop 2 full cycles too early.
For some of you reading this you might think that I was relieved to hear that my chemotherapy had to stop early. It was after all the most gruelling part of my treatment plan. However, you would be wrong, all I wanted at that moment in time was my chemotherapy.
Nobody wants to hear that they cannot have the recommended dose of their life saving treatment. This was when I turned to the Bone Cancer Research Trust. I vented to the support team and others impacted by bone cancer via the Virtual Cuppa. The Virtual Cuppa has been a huge part of my recovery since and I still pop online for a chat post treatment.
Once the pandemic stopped my chemotherapy early, I was relieved that I could continue with a drug called Mifamurtide as an outpatient. I used the lockdown as time to recover from chemotherapy and surgery. I completed treatment on the 26th October 2020 and I have been busy since then.
I have got my independence back, I have relocated for a new full-time job, I am doing what I can to be active, and now live with my boyfriend who I met during treatment.
I am still absolutely gutted that returning to netball is not really an option post-surgery, but I am alive, and I am going to do my best to get back to skiing. Returning to work certainly has its challenges post treatment but I am grateful every single day that I have the chance to face that challenge. Ah and chemotherapy curls – a real thing!