Below she shares her story to raise awareness and help others.
I had been struggling since January 2022 with moving my arms and simple things like changing the gears in my car. I just thought I had slept funny, and that after a while it would go away. The pain did not get better until May time, then it returned and got worse again.
I initially arranged to see a physiotherapist privately on 1st of August 2022. I was told that I had an issue with the muscle, so I was given exercises to help with this. I was told to come back if it did not improve, which I did, but things did not get better.
I work as a dental nurse and was struggling to get into my scrubs, so my manager at work referred me to an NHS physiotherapist. Unfortunately, before I was able to have my physiotherapy appointment, I tripped over my dog.
This triggered a lot of nerve pain in my arm and I knew that something was not right.
I went to the local minor injuries unit, where I was told it was just my muscle and I was given painkillers and to come back if it did not get better. This was on the Friday, and by the following Monday, I was in such pain I made a telephone appointment with my GP. I asked the GP for an X-ray but was told I had to have my physiotherapy first.
I went to see the NHS physiotherapist on 15th of September, who said he would not treat me until I had an x-ray! I had an x-ray on 20th of September and had to chase for the results. I was told over the phone it was certain that I had cancer, and I was being referred to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) at Stanmore.
I had a biopsy at RNOH on 1st of November and was seen in clinic for my results on 17th of November, where I was told that I had a Giant Cell Tumour of the Bone. My consultant was shocked that I had previously been told I had cancer.
I had my surgery on 5th of December. The surgery was six hours long and included curettage of my left shoulder, a bone graft and cement including a plate. I am not out of the woods yet, but it's a start. I had my first clinic appointment following surgery on 26th of January 2023.
Since having surgery I've experienced a lot of pain, but I've also had good days too. It helps that I have a positive outlook and I am a determined person. I'm hopeful that I will regain most of the function in my arm with the help of a physiotherapist.
I am currently living with my parents as my diagnosis has impacted my life a lot. I cannot drive at the moment and simple tasks can be hard for me, but I also think there is always someone worse off out there. My surgeon has been so helpful and no questions a bother.
My advice would be to not give up and remember you are not alone.
It is important to raise awareness and also to know your body. Make sure you pursue any problems that you have. Just because you are young does not make you exempt from any medical illness, so please get checked out.
To support our vital work, Natalie and her friends are taking on a walking challenge from Margate to Herne Bay. To find out more and show your support, click here