Chat health

I won’t let more bad news stop me mov­ing for­ward...

Chat - - Contents - Joanna Lamb, 17, Ed­in­burgh

One minute I was racing across the bas­ket­ball court, the next, the floor came rush­ing to­wards me. I landed on the floor with a thump.

‘You al­right?’ asked my coach.

‘Yeah,’ I huffed. ‘Just landed funny.’

It was April 2017 and I shrugged it off. Only... Days later, my left knee be­came swollen and ached ter­ri­bly. Not that I let it stop me. It was only when I kept los­ing my bal­ance that my coach took me off the court.

‘You need to ice and rest that,’ she said.

Re­luc­tantly, I agreed. My left leg felt heavy and tight. Noth­ing a good mas­sage won’t fix.

I roped my boyfriend at the time into rub­bing some oil into it, work out the knots.

He pressed his thumb into my up­per calf on the first one but couldn’t budge it. I sched­uled

a pro­fes­sional sports mas­sage.

But he urged me to go to hospi­tal.

I didn’t see what the fuss was all about, so I put it off. Un­til... One morn­ing in May 2017, I tried to swing my legs out of bed but they were like jelly. I was push­ing my­self up but couldn’t move.

Pan­ick­ing, I shouted for my mum, An­gela, 47.

With her help, I was on the move, just.

But by mid-morn­ing I was dou­bled over in agony.

It was the first Mum knew of my phys­i­cal symp­toms.

She drove me to the Royal In­fir­mary A&E in Ed­in­burgh, where a doc­tor reck­oned I had a build-up of fluid in my calf. He needed to drain it. Only, as he pulled the sy­ringe, it filled with blood. What on earth?!

I was taken for an MRI and then ush­ered next door for the re­sults.

I had os­teosar­coma, a rare type of bone can­cer that af­fects only 20 peo­ple a year.

I had to come to terms with it quickly. You see, at 16 in Scot­land, you’re of­fi­cially an adult – from now on, I was in charge of how I dealt with the can­cer.

I had to say yes or no to treat­ments. Not my par­ents: me.

It was over­whelm­ing. I felt too young to make these kind of de­ci­sions.

But with the sup­port of Mum and my dad, Alan, 49, I be­gan to wade through it all.

I said yes to ‘limb sal­vage’, mean­ing the dis­eased bone would be re­placed with a me­tal rod.

It would give me the best chance of keep­ing my leg, hope­fully play sports again one day.

But last Septem­ber, my dreams were dashed.

The can­cer had spread to my hip, ab­domen, even my lungs. My only op­tion, am­pu­ta­tion. I didn’t want to lose my leg, fear­ing my iden­tity would go with it, un­able to do all the things I loved. But my life was now on the line.

I didn’t know what to do and turned to Mum and Dad.

‘What would you do?’ I’d asked.

‘If it saved my life, there would be no ques­tion,’ Dad replied. I nod­ded. On 20 De­cem­ber, I was wheeled to theatre for the am­pu­ta­tion of my left leg.

When I woke up four hours later, with one leg gone, I felt strangely re­lieved.

All I wanted to do now was get up and mov­ing, asked for physio the day af­ter the op.

This was my life and I was go­ing to take con­trol.

Yes, I still needed chemo, but I’d be walk­ing again as soon as pos­si­ble with a pros­thetic.

Sadly, in June I was told that the can­cer had come back, this time in my pelvis.

It was gut­ting to hear, but I’m not go­ing to let it stop me.

On 16 Septem­ber, I’ll lead the Kilt­walk for char­ity and I’ll start chemo again shortly af­ter.

Can­cer may have knocked me back twice, but...

I’m still stand­ing and I’ll keep push­ing for­ward.

I was in charge of how I dealt with the can­cer

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