Maddy’s parents first learned that Maddy may have a cancerous tumor on February 2nd, 2018. She had an X-ray, followed by an MRI, and the results came back and confirmed that the mass eating away at 40% of Maddy’s leg was, indeed, “alive” and appeared to be cancerous in nature. LEading up to the diagnosis, Maddy’s knee had been hurting her, all in all, for about 9 months. She’s a cheerleader and a softball player, so when we took her to the Ortho, he referred her to PT. No X-rays done that day. She did PT as prescribed, and her knee just got more and more painful. So we went back to the Ortho and requested an X-ray. The Ortho said she didn’t need one. That she needed to stick with PT and rest. She was frustrated. We were frustrated. Ultimately we decided to just take a break until cheer season was finished. The school trainer wasn’t having that. He referred her to the Ortho all the athletes see and made her an appointment right away. THAT is who did an X-ray immediately and first saw the mass.
The appointment with Dr. Reimer and the following biopsy couldn’t come quickly enough, but in the end, the tumor was confirmed as osteosarcoma. She’s been a warrior and has kept a super positive attitude most of the time. The cancer hadn’t spread to any other part of her body. She opted for limb salvage surgery, and after surgery on 5/15, there was “no evidence of the disease in her body.” We’ve had one setback……with an infection that forced her to leave Camp Sunshine early and postponed her chemo one week. We’re told once she finishes her chemo treatments mid-October, she’ll be cancer free.
The biggest challenge has been pain management – after the biopsy, throughout chemo treatments (especially after cisplatin), and after her limb salvage surgery. The nerve pain as everything begins “firing” again is particularly difficult to manage. The mental and emotional side of things are also at the top of the list. She’s having a difficult time coming to grips with the fact that she’ll have to modify her activities for the rest of her life – some she won’t ever be able to participate in again. She will no longer be able to tumble the same way she used too, and softball seems to be a sport that she will never play again. Since the beginning of her cancer treatments, she has missed being a “normal” teenager spending the night at friends houses and going to summer pool parties. In the face of all of these trails, Maddy has started to focus more on her writing and artistic talents. We’re incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by a large, loving community, and are making new friends who have or are currently sharing the same journey. If not for the support of those who love us and love Maddy, this road would be infinitely more difficult, and we can’t thank them enough.