When I was 27, I thought my life was on track. It was also somewhat stressful—I had a new baby boy, a school age daughter, a fairly new marriage, schoolwork, and I was balancing two careers. Many times we get so caught up with life that we neglect ourselves and overlook our health, and I was guilty of that. I neglected to get the pain in my left knee checked. For a few months it would come and go and it seemed to get worse at night. The pain was so severe that one day I called out of work and finally scheduled a doctor’s appointment to get it checked out. The orthopedic doctor had no idea how to diagnose me because nothing showed up on the x-ray. Just to be safe, he ordered a MRI, and I am thankful that he did. Later on that week he called. I was nervous when I answered the phone considering the doctor decided it necessary to call me on a late Friday evening. I knew that it must not be good news. He explained that the MRI showed there was a small tumor on my knee and I had to see an orthopedic oncologist first thing the following week.
Initially the ortho oncologist didn’t seem concerned while looking at the MRI. He asked me to come next week so he could scrape off what he thought to be a small benign (non-cancerous) growth from my knee. When I returned for my follow up appointment, I learned that the tumor was not benign. The pathology report showed it to be a cancerous tumor. I found out that day that I had osteosarcoma, a cancer that starts in the bone. Never in a million years would I have ever thought I would be diagnosed with cancer. I had to have my knee and part of my femur removed and replaced, approximately 6 months of chemotherapy, and a lot of physical therapy.
I’ve since recovered but still struggle with the changes from my surgery and the late side effects of chemo. In spite of that, I’m overjoyed that I am alive and have the opportunity to share my story. My wish is that in sharing my experience I can give hope and motivate people to take charge of their health. Cancer has brought me up close and personal with my mortality and shown me how fragile life is. I am now very conscious of my eating habits, I work out regularly, and go for regular doctor’s visits. Always be persistent and proactive when it comes to your health because the sooner you are able to get treated, the better your prognosis will be.
- pain in knee