Gemma’s Story

Gemma

At the end of an 18 month trip travelling, I was crossing the road in Cambodia when my left leg suddenly gave way. Luckily my friend was there to help me get out of the way of the traffic, otherwise things could have become serious more quickly. Six months later after having seen various doctors and physiotherapists, I finally had an MRI scan which showed a large tumour growing inside the bone of my left femur spreading down to my knee cap.

I was diagnosed with an Oesteosarcoma, primary bone cancer in December 2013. By the time the doctors had worked out what was wrong with me the pain in my leg had become excruciating. Sitting for long periods of time caused the leg to seize up and become stiff; walking only short distances would leave me with a pronounced limp.

Following this diagnosis I began a course of intensive chemotherapy but on New Year’s Eve I slipped and fell over on the “bad leg”. The tumour had made my femur so weak and brittle doctors worried I would break the bone if this happened again so confined me to a wheelchair until the end of February. In the space of one month I had gone from somebody leading a fairly normal life with a sore leg to somebody with cancer who was also disabled. Things had deteriorated quickly.

Since having my surgery a month ago I am now on crutches and in a knee brace learning how to walk again. The surgeon replaced 18cm of my femur, my entire knee and the top of my tibia with prosthetic titanium and my family now refers to me lovingly as ‘bionic woman’. Although I still have months of chemotherapy ahead, the ability to walk again and the fact that the tumour has been removed and is no longer taking over my body feels fantastic!

Charities like Teens Unite support so many young people through cancer and are essential to keeping the mental mindset of young people happy and positive. They have given me the opportunity to meet people of a similar age to me and continue working in the Event’s field which is something I hope to make a career out of one day.