When I was 16 years old, I was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that starts in your bones. It all started with a knot protruding from my leg right below my knee off to the side. It kept getting bigger. With summer coming up, I didn’t want it to show while I was wearing shorts, so my mom took me to the doctor. He cut open my leg and said it was a hematoma. Before he sent it off to pathology, it broke up leaving nothing to send. A few days later, I was hit in the same spot with a shoe. After that the knot on my leg grew bigger. It looked like I had two knees. I went to see an orthopedic doctor who sent me to St. Jude’s Children’s hospital and after several tests, I was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma the summer of 2003.
My first surgery was a limb sparing surgery, where they tried to save my leg and only take out where the cancer was. I did six months of chemotherapy and my leg never completely healed; during chemo I broke my leg and they eventually did another surgery to attach a metal plate, which supported that area in my leg. By that fall, my cancer was back and my leg was amputated Nov. 4, 2004. I opted not to do chemotherapy again.
I graduated high school in 2005 and two weeks after graduation, started Community College. The summer after graduation, my cancer reoccurred, but this time in my lungs.
I have had cancer a total of seven times: twice in my left leg, resulting in amputation; twice in the left lung and three times in the right lung. Parts of my lungs and diaphragm are missing due to the surgeries getting rid of the cancer. I have also done chemotherapy three different times, radiation once and have had several surgeries.
Each time the cancer recurred, it would get harder and harder to stay positive.With the help of family and friends to keep me focused on what was important, I was able to maintain a normal outlook. I continued to focus on school and the future instead of being depressed and brought down. My family loves to joke, and for the most part, we made jokes about cancer and laughed because sometimes that is all you can do. During my recovery of my last lung surgery, I remember telling my now husband I didn't think I could go through another lung surgery. I told him couldn't make it. God must have heard me, because that was the last time my cancer reoccurred. I can proudly say I have been cancer free for almost 5 years.
Since that last reoccurrence, I have gotten married and now have two precious, beautiful daughters. Kids were something else that wasn’t supposed to be in the cards for me, because of all the treatments, I was told by three different doctors I wouldn’t be able to have kids. I am so blessed that I have survived cancer and in the process, gained a beautiful family.