n January 2013, when I was 11 years old, I was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in my right tibia. I underwent 6 rounds of bi-weekly inpatient chemotherapy. Then came the BIG decision, how to remove the tumor? If the doctors tried to save my leg and remove the tumor I would have had drop foot and only 30% use of my leg. So I, with the support of my parents, made the decision to have an amputation to remove the tumor. To others it might have seemed like a hard decision to make, but to me it all came down to being able to get back to my normal life and play sports again.
After the amputation I had an additional 11 rounds of biweekly impatient chemo. On November 16, 2013 I had my last chemo treatment. It was an amazing day; but I still wasn’t able to walk yet! The chemo kept my leg from healing and I was not allowed to get a prosthesis until January 2014. I had not walked on my own two legs in one whole year. Not having a leg didn’t keep me down. I still practiced with my basketball team, went to school, and hung out with my friends; I just had to use my crutches or wheelchair.
On January 8, 2014 I finally got my new leg. It felt incredible to be able to walk again. I still had to use crutches to get around, because my leg was so weak from not walking for a year. I have worked very hard over the last year and a half at physical therapy to get to where I am today, and I still go to physical therapy two mornings every week. But all the hard work, effort and positivity have paid off, I am back to where I wanted to be playing volleyball, basketball and softball.
On January 14, 2013 our lives changed forever. This was the horrible day that Katie was diagnosed with the dreaded “C” word. Our daughter had cancer, how did this happen? Looking back those first few weeks they are really all just a blur; test, scans, diagnosis, surgeries, plan of action and then chemo.
Our family’s journey with Katie’s cancer diagnosis could have been so much worse if she was not the positive, determined, funny and caring individual that she is. Katie never had any doubt that she was going to beat cancer and get back to living her life. She looked at each day as a blessing and tried to find a positive in every horrible situation that she had to endure. And her positivity and attitude were infectious; she truly helped all of us to go through this journey with her.
Katie’s journey didn’t end when chemo ended and she had no evidence of disease. She will always have an amputated limb and need to wear a prosthesis. Being an amputee comes with its own separate set of trials and tribulations. But she does not see herself as a disabled individual. Never tell her she can’t do something because she has a handicap; she will prove you wrong every time.
She has overcome so much and has worked very hard to get back to the life that she has today. Now she is focused on sharing her journey with others going through something similar in the hopes that she can pass on some of her knowledge, strength and positivity.
As a parent, my heart is full of pride and admiration when I look at my daughter.