The pain started back in April 2013. It was just a mild pain on my right side, I thought it could be a kidney infection so I went to the doctor. She told me it was just a pulled muscle and gave me some muscle relaxers. A few months later I notice the pain in my side is getting worse along with my right hip was hurting as well. I couldn’t lay on either of my sides without being in pain. So I went to see a different doctor. He told me that my sciatic nerve was being pinched. So I was diagnosed with sciatica and was put on Vicodin.
A couple of months later I was in serious pain in my hip area, I decide to go see yet another doctor. I thought this doctor was better than the others because she did a series of tests. She watched me walk and had me doing some exercises. At this time I had been running a fever for five days with no other symptoms which I had told the doctor. She didn’t seem to be worried about it. So after all the tests she put me through she said it was a pulled muscle and sent me to physical therapy. She also stated that the fever with no other symptoms is a sign of cancer, but I was young and healthy, and it was very unlikely. So off to therapy I went…
So there I was at physical therapy in horrible pain trying to do these simple leg and hip exercises that were just killing me. I also took it upon myself to see a chiropractor, who took an X-ray of my hip and said my right leg was shorter than my left, and that’s what was causing my pain. So a few more months passed and I was in more pain then ever. I was taking 3000 mg of ibuprofen a day and was still limping around, barely able to walk. I was putting icy hot on my hip every hour and using a heating pad at night. I would wake up at night in pain all the time. So one morning while getting ready for work my husband took a look at my side which was bulging out and was blue in color and felt like a huge rock, he said, “you’re going to the doctor today or else it will never get better.” Those words really sunk in, so I make an appointment right away and was seen that day.
So I arrived at my appointment and I showed my doctor my side and I tell her about my fever and pain. She immediately ordered a CAT scan. I heard her say, “Elizabeth Collins, 23 year old female, possible mass” those words had me scared. So I go through the scan and since the clinic was closed before my scan was over she said she would call me with the results.
I left the hospital and went home thinking the doctor would call me in the morning as soon as I walked in the door I got a phone call from my doctor. As soon as she said, “how are you?” I could tell it was bad news. It turns out the pulled muscle in my side was actually a tumor, a very large tumor six inches long and four inches thick. It was in my pelvis. So I cried to my doctor, and she cried with me on the phone. She said she was sending me to an oncologist who specializes in bone cancer. So off I went two days later to meet my wonderful oncologist at the University of Iowa. There he tells me I have a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma in my pelvis. I started chemo right away. I spent my daughters first birthday in the hospital two hours away from home. In the end I had gone through eight horrible rounds of chemo, and had major surgery to remove the tumor. I have an incision starting at my belly button, and ending at my butt cheek. The surgery took eight hours. I spent ten days in the hospital, then was transferred to a rehab center for three weeks while I learned how to walk again. Now its been five months since surgery and I’m doing great. The chemo left me with heart failure and chronic kidney disease that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life… but at least I’m alive.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.