He put it down to a sports injury (I was a keen salsa dancer), but eventually my knee became so swollen and red that I could barely walk and I insisted on an x-ray.
From the moment the x-ray film was produced, things started moving very quickly and I was sent down to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham for a biopsy. Three weeks later, but six months after I'd first gone to my GP, I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma: bone cancer.
My first fears on hearing the diagnosis weren't about my mortality or hair loss from chemotherapy or the impending operation to remove the diseased bone; they were about my fertility. I'd always known I wanted to be a mum and I also knew that chemotherapy could cause infertility. I didn't want to start treatment until I'd saved some eggs. But then came the second blow: if I underwent fertility treatment now, my chances of survival would be drastically reduced. I made the difficult decision to start chemotherapy straight away. I don't think anyone around me could understand my feelings at this time. My fiancé Pete, my parents and my friends just wanted me to get better. And of course rationally, they were absolutely right: what was the point of being able to have children if I didn't survive? But somehow it didn't feel like that to me then, and today I still face the pain of my probable infertility every day.
But I had to put the worries over my fertility to one side while I underwent chemotherapy. I had expected it to be tough, but I was almost overwhelmed by the treatment at the start. After my first five-day hospital stay I returned home in a wheelchair, unable to even to watch television or read a book, let alone make a meal or climb the stairs. I felt as if I was neither awake nor asleep, but in a kind of purgatory. Meanwhile, Pete was having to cancel our wedding plans. I think this was my lowest point. I felt as if I would rather die than continue with this treatment for nine long months. But I did get through the days, by relying on my family and friends to care for me.
Two months into the chemotherapy treatment, I had a scan on my knee. To my horror, the tumour had actually got bigger and I was told my best chance of survival would be to have an amputation. How can you prepare yourself for an operation like that? Once again there wasn't time to think about things too much and I just had to go ahead and pick up the pieces later. I found the whole process, especially seeing my leg for the last time before the operation, sickening and macabre. But in some ways the loss of my leg made me more determined to survive the cancer. I didn't want to have gone through all this for nothing.
2005 was without doubt the longest year of my life but finally I am starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. My three-month scan after finishing chemotherapy was clear and I am learning to walk again with a prosthetic limb. I have found I can ride a bike better than I can walk (although I fall off more often than I used to) and I have taken up horse riding again. I recently entered my first Riding for the Disabled competition and won! Now I'm getting officially graded so I can compete nationally.
Best of all, I am about to have my postponed wedding to the man who supported me through it all. We are lucky to be getting married in the absolute knowledge that we can make it through the tough times, because we already have.