The 6 Letter Word that Kills

DID YOU KNOW… There are more than 100 types of cancer. On average, 555 Canadians will be diagnosed with Cancer every day.

In addition to that, 2 out of 5 Canadians are expected to develop cancer during their lifetime. [Canada’s current population is 36,626,083 those statistic estimate that 14,650,433 of Canada’s civilians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.]

I have not only been diagnosed with cancer once in my lifetime, but twice. I was first diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma a malignant brain tumour. The second diagnosis was osteosarcoma in simpler words- bone cancer [& yes, this is the cancer Terry Fox passed away from.]

Osteosarcoma is most commonly found in fast growing areas of the bone (knees, elbows, etc.) Some Osteosarcoma patients undergo surgery, while others must undergo both surgery and vigorous chemotherapy treatments. The choice of treatment is dependent on the severity, as well as the location, of the cancer.

My diagnoses of osteosarcoma is linked to both the radiation I received as a child AND the mutation in my gene (P53.) My left jaw lit up like a christmas when I had a bone scan done. The tumour was measured in cm (this generally means the tumour is of a large size.)

The board of oncologists at Sick Kids discussed my specific case and decided I should under go surgery before starting chemotherapy. They wanted the tumour to be removed before it caused further damage (specifically nerve damage.)

The surgery whom was done by Doctor Gilbert, the head and neck specialist at the Toronto General Hospital, planned on:

  • Removing the jaw joint (leads to permanent complications chewing & numbness)
  • Removing a small lower part of the skull (this was to be done by a neurosurgeon)
  • Reconstruction of the left mandible (jaw)
  • Free tissue transplant from the left leg (used to reconstruct the left mandible/jaw)

The morning of surgery was long; it consisted mostly of waiting around. Once I changed into my dressing gown the surgery was quick to follow. The surgeon, as well as his fellow, brought me into a massive operating room (exactly like the ones in movies.) The few minutes between being brought in by the doctors and being put to sleep, seemed to last forever. I’ve been put to sleep sooooooo many times that it doesn’t scare me anymore.

If you close your eyes and start counting….1…2….you’re asleep!

Xo

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