I was walking down some stairs at school, half way through my final year of high school. I had been having trouble with my left knee but my GP and physiotherapist had said that I was just a bit sore from playing football. I got to the last step when my left knee gave way, I tried to get up but the pain was excruciating. I was then rushed to hospital with a broken leg; the doctors found it quite unusual that a young, fit and healthy young man like myself could break his femur from simply walking down some stairs. After having surgery the following day to put all the bone back into place with the assistance of some plates and screws and after a few days of recovery I was allowed to go home.
During one of my follow up visits to the hospital I was told that I would need to have a biopsy of my leg to see what had caused it to break. It was June the 28th 2005 and the results of my biopsy were in, doctors told me that I had an osteosarcoma that had caused the bone to weaken and therefore break. I would have to have my left leg amputated above the knee on the 23rd of August 2005 and would then have 8 months of chemotherapy finishing at the end of April in 2006.
It was a very difficult time in my life, especially considering I was only 17 and just wanted to be having fun with my friends and be running around a football field. Instead I was spending a lot of time in hospital and when I wasn’t I was more often than not too sick to even get out of bed. It wasn’t until my 18th birthday in June 2006 that I had fully recovered from my treatment, my hair had started to grow back and I was walking around on my new prosthetic leg. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through but I wouldn’t have gotten through it all if it weren’t for my family and friends and of course the amazing doctors and nurses at Sir Charles Gairdner hospital.
Having my leg amputated has given me many opportunities that I would never have had if I still had two legs. I am now playing professional wheelchair basketball in Italy and representing not only my state but my country also. I have a beautiful girlfriend who I met through playing wheelchair basketball, therefore would never have met if I didn’t lose my leg or start playing wheelchair basketball. In saying all of this my greatest achievement is, and always will be, being a cancer survivor.
Not many people have heard about sarcoma but it is affecting the lives of many young Australians and their respective families. The same rule applies to sarcoma that does to any other type of commonly known cancer, if something doesn’t feel or look right then go and see your GP, please! Unfortunately many of the people I have met in the past who have had some type of sarcoma weren’t quite as fortunate as I was with my cancer journey and in recent times have passed away. I guess I am one of the success stories and feel that it is my duty to live my life to the fullest in honor of those who weren’t quite as fortunate as I am. No matter what happens in life you have to make the most of it!