I’ve always loved horses. I started riding when I was 12 and got my own horse when I was 13. I loved to compete and started training 20 hours a week for U.S. Youth Nationals when my knee started to hurt. We figured it was all the riding and I kept pretty quiet about it for a while. We knew it was bad when I skipped a lesson. My trainer called my mom told her to get me to a doctor, because I’d come for lesson with the flu before, and if I wasn’t coming to ride, something was very wrong. I’d actually been misdiagnosed for 8 weeks before that, a sports medicine doctor said I just was growing too fast and needed physical therapy.
Now we had the actual diagnosis; cancer. It didn’t really hit me what cancer would be like. I didn’t even know what chemo was, other than it made my aunt’s hair fall out when she got it. I just remember everything being new and a lot harder than I had thought it would be.
My tumor was in my knee, and I had an LSS, replacing the knee and all but a couple inches of femur with a titanium prosthetic, which failed three times and got infected over the course of a few years. After treatment I would also break the plastic plate in my knee while on a year long service mission for my church! I finished chemo after a year and slowly worked my way to my new version of normal. It took me two years to learn how to walk again, but now I rock climb, backpack, horseback ride— I can even do this almost jog thing, but my husband says it looks like I’m running with one foot on a curb, and one on the street!
That’s been part of my new normal, I found the man of my dreams who took me to my yearly scans the day after becoming my boyfriend. During those appointments, my doctor accidentally brought up my potential problems with fertility from the chemo in front of this brand new boyfriend of mine. It didn’t phase him. We got married and to my utter amazement, we were blessed to bring the most beautiful baby boy into the world in January of this year.
I remember times during chemo when I had no idea if I’d walk again. I just wanted my hair to grow back and to just stop throwing up for one day. I wanted to be normal. My new normal is better than I could have imagined. Having osteosarcoma has given me a new view on life, and helped me to lift others facing similar trials.