In 2009 at 24 years old, a small nodule came up on my left elbow. Since I worked for plastic surgeons at the time, I just had them remove it in the office about 2 months after it showed up. My doctor sent it to pathology and said that it looked just like a little scar tissue, nothing to be concerned about. Two or more weeks went by and I never even thought about asking for the results. My doctor came into my office, shut my door and said, “we need to talk.” Since this was my boss (and doctor), I thought it was about work. He then began to tell me what I had was extremely rare and called Epithelioid Sarcoma. He said at first he didn’t believe it, so he sent it to another pathologist and they confirmed this was the correct diagnosis. Being that it was so small, they did a wide excision surgery with clear margins. The doctors said that I had the best possible prognosis and shouldn’t ever have to worry with this again. I would just get checked every 4 months by the cancer center to be on the safe side.
Fast forward 4 years…February 26, 2013, I was laying in the chair with my fiance (at the time), Whit, and felt a nodule on my left palm. I immediately knew the sarcoma had come back and I burst into tears. It felt the exact same way that the first one had felt. Whit tried to calm me saying that I shouldn’t be so concerned until I knew what it was for sure, but deep down in my heart, I knew it what it was. The next day, still working for plastic surgeons, I had it removed and sent to pathology. The first pathologist said that it was a benign neurofibroma, but I wanted it seen by the same pathologist that diagnosed me the first time. Since she was on vacation, it took 2 weeks to get results, and she confirmed it was a recurrence of epithelioid sarcoma. After this, Whit wanted to go ahead and get married, so we went to the courthouse on our lunch break and surprised our parents. 🙂 I spent the next 6 months in and out of surgeries and doctors appointments, with my new hubby by my side every time! I had a wide excision of my left palm, sentinel node biopsy (to test lymph nodes)of my left axilla, and 30 rounds of radiation. About a month after radiation ended, I had 2 lymph nodes swell on my left neck. They removed them just to be on the safe side and they turned up negative. Since my body had been through so much (3 surgeries and 30 rounds of radiation), I figured it would take a while to get pregnant, so we just threw caution to the wind. Little did I know it, but I was 1 week pregnant.
I have now been 17 months NED, or cancer free and have a beautiful 6 month old baby boy named Gray. I could never have made it through without my amazing husband standing by my side every day. I thank God everyday for my beautiful family. Sunshine does come after the storms. 🙂
If you or a loved one has been impacted by sarcoma cancer, we encourage you to share your story. Sharing your story can be such an inspiration to others who are dealing with sarcoma in their own life and remind us all of the urgency to find better treatments in order to make an impact on the devastation that sarcoma cancer brings. Let your experiences help others become involved with raising awareness!