My story starts shortly after my wedding in September 2015. I married an incredible individual named Sean (still happily married!).
Soon after our wedding, I started to feel pain in my right femur. I believed it was exercise related (trying to get in shape around the wedding time) and I rested my leg for a few months. It seemed to go away so I assumed it was muscle related, but approximately 3 months later there was a small lump and on my femur and by January and I was shifting my weight to my left side to compensate for the pain on my right.
I began searching out answers from the health system. I went to the doctor who believed it just fatty tissue, the physiotherapist who used graston method to "scrape the muscle mass", and even tried Chinese Cupping and Accupuncture. Even with all of these attempts, my pain wouldn't go away. Everyone believed it was muscle-related, including myself and my family. I was frustrated with the pain and how it made me feel. I didn't want to move around because of pain and I began feeling sad and numb to things around me.
It wasn't until last June when I went for a massage on my right knee to calm inflammation and pain that my massage therapist Casey told me something wasn't right. She said the way my leg looked when I walked was off and the lump didn't feel like fatty tissue. She refused to give me a massage that day and told me to go back to the doctor and demand an ultrasound. Hearing news like that was scary because it felt like I had just been diagnosed but I am so thankful for her. I went back to the doctor, again was told it was probably just fatty tissue but he gave me an ultrasound referral. I called and made sure I was on the cancellation list, and then waited.
I was called in for an ultrasound via the cancellation list a few weeks later. The technician saw something (photo below), told me to wait in the room while she booked me an x-ray for that day. It happened so fast and the next day I was called into the doctors office to go over the results. Initially it was believed it was Pareosteal Osteosarcoma. With that, I was rushed into an appointment the next morning with the bone expert in Kelowna who referred me as a patient to Paul Clarkson, the bone specialist in Vancouver. That same day I had an MRI, and the next week had other tests including a bone scan, leg scans etc. Within two weeks, I was on my way to Vancouver where I had my surgery.
We thought we'd have to take bone from my hip to replace the bone being removed but the day before the surgery, I met with the medical team and they let me know they had an "Alisha" size femur bone in the bone bank! This meant that they didn't need to take my hip bone which was fantastic news because this can often be the most painful part of the surgery. To the individuals bone I have today, a sincere thank-you (right after the surgery I made sure I signed up to be a donor and I encourage you to look into it if you haven't already as well!).
The surgery was a success! I recovered in VGH for 7 days and then was on my way home . Today I'm a "bionic" woman. I have a bone graft, some nifty metal work and a plate.
A few weeks later, I finally received the conclusive tests. They re-classified it as an aneursymal bone tumor. There is a 20% chance it will re-surface. If it does, I'm ready but I have confidence in the medical team in Vancouver.
Thank-you to all who prayed. I truly believe it was a miracle. The doctors don't know what could of caused the tumor or much about the actual type. They say the tumor is quite rare, especially in the location it originated. I believe things happen for a reason. I don't understand why it happened, but now it's a story to help the next family that goes through it. It could of been so much worse, and I'm just incredibly fortunate that "it went as well as it could of."
SO why am I telling all of you about this? Because I am proposing something totally out of my comfort zone but a challenge that is worth it! I am going to participate in a tri-athlon this July in Penticton!
I'm doing it for three reasons:
1. To honor the individual who gave me their bone! I don't know who you are or what your situation was that made you leave this world, but thank-you. I'm honored to keep your bone going for more years to come!
3. For my husband Sean. When I was getting out of the hospital, he ran a triathlon for me. Now it's my turn to come full circle.
3. To raise funds for others who are going through the medical system as we speak, trying to get better. My goal is to raise $1000 + and 100% of donations (minus the GoFundMe processing fee) will be donated to the KGH and VGH Foundation.
4. To let people know can do whatever you put your mind to, don't forget it!
Now I'm working towards being able to complete the triathlon and am swimming and biking twice a week. I'm not quite ready for running (one step at a time!), but am working towards being able to do a half walk/soft jog during the race. Rehablilitation takes time and I'm doing this race for completion.
To the families out there struggling with cancer, to those who have lost someone with cancer, to those who care about causes in this world but don't know how to do something about it - this is for you.
Please help me with my goal of $1000. All proceeds go directly to KGH and VGH. Any amount helps. Please share with your friends and family!