Most of you know me. Don’t you? Oh, well, don’t worry, you’ll feel like you’ve known me for years at the end of this post.
I’m 16, and my name is Stephanie. People call me Steph. No big deal. I was born and raised in Australia. My birthday is March 22nd.
I’ve never had the best life; who on here has? Nobody, right? Right. My life has never been perfect, ever, not once in my almost 17 years, but when I was 14, that’s when things really took a turn for the worst.
I was jumping on the trampoline. Average 14 year olds do that, and never have any kind of problem. I came down on my left knee, with most of my weight on it. But, that’s not a big deal, because I only weighed about 100 pounds at the time. No big deal? Wrong. My knee popped, and swelled up. I couldn’t walk on it, and I was taken to the doctor, where I was told it was a sprain, I was given a knee brace and some crutches to use for a couple of weeks.
Little did anybody know… that was the day that my life changed. Forever.
Two weeks are up. My knee is still super red, swollen, and hot. I’m walking down some stairs… and it popped again. I stumbled forward and landed on my arm… the way that you AREN’T supposed to land. Broke my wrist and back onto crutches I went. Same knee brace, same crutches, but with a new addition. My wrist brace.
Another two weeks go by, and back to the doctor I go. I get cleared for walking again, but now an MRI is scheduled, along with a series of x-rays.
Imagings come. Nothing is found, but the tissues are extremely swollen in my knee. Back on crutches.
Two weeks go by. By this time, I’m in complete agony whenever I move my leg, but the doctors cannot find out anything. Another two weeks. I spend me 15th birthday in utter agony to the point where I’m vomiting and passing out. To the ER I go.
MRIs. Tiny dots on the end of my femur, thought to be just some tears in the cartilage. Crutches, again.
School is hell for me, utter hell. It’s hard to get around, and people have to carry my books and help get me lunch, and I get pushed and shoved and looked at funny. All this time, my knee continues to grow… and grow… and grow.
I’m a surfer. I’m a runner. I’ve got long, toned legs, and I’m athletic and it damn well shows. I love the water. I was born to swim and run and surf and everything above. I can run a km in 4 minutes. A mile in 6:22. I can’t do that anymore. Running. Can’t. Swimming. Can’t. Surfing. Can’t. Walking. Hard, painful, and damn near impossible… can.
School lets out in October, and I’m still in pain. November rolls around, and I’m sent in for bone scans and MRIs and x-rays. What they found… shocking.
They found a LARGE, large, large… thing growing INSIDE the bone in my femur. Biopsies. So many. Surgeries, trying to fix it, trying to get it out without ruining my ability to walk.
January rolls around. Waiting… waiting… waiting for those results and praying that it’s not what we all knew it was.
January 22, 2012 is the day that my life was flipped upside down, sideways, and shaken.
“We’re sorry, but…” are the words that you never want to hear come out of a doctor’s mouth. Ever.
“We’re sorry, but you have stage 2 Ewing’s sarcoma. It’s a rare bone cancer. Your options are radiation and chemotherapy, we can’t do surgery to fix it.”
I will never forget those words, not ever. Not… ever…
I moved to Dayton, OH. I went to the US to do treatments.
I did chemo. By now, I’m on crutches all the time, but one time, I was going down the stairs and stumbled… my left femur almost snapped completely in half.
Casts. And casts. And a surgery. And another cast.
I spent my 16th birthday in the ER.
Then, I was told that my cancer was gone, after a long battle with chemo and radiation. I was sick. I lost a good amount of my hair.
Three weeks later… I was diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer, and I didn’t have long. Radiation would not help me. My only option was chemotherapy, and hope like HELL it saved my life.
It has spread to my hips and spine. My spine has broken due to the tumors.
I go to Seattle, WA to participate in in a clinical trial. I currently reside here, in Seattle Children’s Hospital, being monitored 24/7. My cancer has spread to my lungs, heart, hips, spine, foot, shoulder, and both of my knees. I am currently on 20some pills that I must take daily, and 9 IV medications. We’re in the race to beat this, and the odds aren’t good, but I’m still fighting the fight because it’s the only option I have.
I have an NG tube put in, because it’s hard to eat.
I have a 15% chance to make it to Christmas. Less than 5% chance to make it a year, and less than a 1% chance to last 5 years. It ruins me on the inside, but I still have the million dollar smile that I’ve had since day one, and it won’t ever be gone. Not until the very end.
Sometimes it pulls you down and down and down, but you mustn’t let it. Show it (depression, anxiety, cancer, Lupus, Diabetes, anything) that it cannot win. Take control. Don’t let it run your life. Why? Because you can rise above it. I am not writing this to make you all think that I’m happy all the time, because I’m not. I’m just like all of you. I’m depressed, I’ve got anxiety, I get stared at, I get laughed at, I’m suicidal. I only make it through because I know that I was put here to live my life and be who I’m supposed to be, not be scared all the time. I make it through because I’m stronger than it. We’re all stronger than the battles that we are facing, and we’ll all falter sometimes, we’ll all feel like we can’t do it, but we can. Together, we can.
I recently got a PM from someone on the SP chat, saying that my attitude towards living has made them reconsider suicide. I know it might not happen, but I hope I changed at least one more person’s mind on this, or at least helped point you in a better direction. Suicide isn’t the answer. It will get better, no matter how far down you feel. You can only go up.
Chin up, darling. You’ll make it. You don’t have to carry the weight of the world. (Kudos to anyone who gets that? )
I’m almost always on chat, feel free to PM me. If not, you can always email me as well.
Remember, chin up. <3