I have overcome this. And I don’t have to be ashamed of it anymore.
How did you find out you were sick?
I was 12 years old when I got sick. I actually found out because I was having pain in my knee. But because I was so young, the doctors always thought that they were just ‘growing pains’. At one point, my mom had to go to the doctor for her own knee, and she said ‘just go with me, then they can take a look at it.’
After they took some pictures of my knee they saw that I had a tear in my knee capsule. So I wore a knee brace for some time. But because the pain did not go away, they took a scan. Later that day we suddenly got a phone call that ‘we needed to come to the hospital because they saw something on the scan.’
When do you feel most confident?
I’ve always been a little insecure because of what I’ve been through.
Because I have very large scars, I have always felt that I should be ashamed. That I had to hide myself… I would never have put on anything like shorts or a skirt either.
I always had a fear that people would see that I was limping because of my prosthetic. But I know by now that I can see all this as ‘Look, I’ve overcome this. And I don’t have to be ashamed of it anymore.’
What impact does your diagnosis/treatments still have on your life on a daily basis?
Mostly the fear of relapse. Every small pain I feel, every check-up, … I’m afraid to hear that they found a new tumor. The every day pain on my knee prosthesis.
Because I had bone cancer, I was treated with very heavy chemo. The chemo gave me heart failures, so my heart now only works between 20-30%. And I’m afraid of having another cardiac arrest. My defibrillator isn’t that comfortable, I feel it when I lie on it or when I’m wearing a bra.
Do you prepare yourself for your checkups? If so, how do you do that?
I don’t prepare myself for a check-up, I just do it. I always take my mom and dad with me. Afterwards we do something nice. Going out to eat or drink something.
How do you deal with the anxiety that cancer still brings?
I try not to focus too much on this, but if I am really worried I go to the doctor right away. My family doctor takes everything very seriously so she always sends me to the hospital if she is worried. She takes no risks and will send me on, rather sooner than later. This gives me peace of mind, so I know somewhere that I am being followed up well!
However, I still have frequent panic attacks, but this is more from my heart failure than my cancer.
When you were 12, did they take precautions for your fertility?
I hadn’t had my first period yet at the age of 12, so they couldn’t pick any eggs. After I had chemo there was a chance that I would no longer be fertile. I had this tested at a later age, around 18, just because I wanted to know where I stood.
I currently have no desire to have children. This would almost be impossible with my heart failure, but I am still fertile despite the very heavy chemo!
Subscribe to receive the latest info about our brand