Lisa Hartman, Sarcoma Survivor, cancer free since April 25, 2006
Lisa’s Type of Sarcoma:
NEUROFIBROSARCOMA, also known as peripheral nerve sheath tumor, is a malignant tumor that develops in the cells surrounding peripheral nerves (nerves that receive messages from the central nervous system – brain and spinal cord – leading them to stimulate voluntary movement).
My story begins in Sept 2005. I was having LEG PAIN in my right thigh. I was 41 at the time, so I thought it was an aging thing. After much testing & 2 biopsies, it turned out to be a neurofibrosarcoma & quite rare. The Dr’s did not expect me to SURVIVE but I didn’t know it at the time. I was in so much pain & could barely bend my leg/knee by the time we knew it was cancer, I didn’t ask if it would kill me. I just wanted relief & was really living day to day. That’s all I could handle.
I did chemo & radiation simultaneously in Feb & March 2006. That was brutal & I had never felt so bad as during that time. Then I got an infection between rounds of chemo that almost killed me. I had surgery on April 25, 2006 to remove the tumor. I lost some of my muscles in my thigh along with the tumor. They scraped my femur & I came out of surgery with 50 stitches. (20 internal & 30 from my knee to my hip) You talk about pain! I did 5 months of physical therapy to learn to walk again. During this time, I also did 2 more rounds of chemo. It was the darkest/hardest thing I have ever experienced.
I was in Johns Hopkins Hospital 6 times that year. I had to be hospitalized for chemo, 3 – 4 days per treatment. I had 4 treatments in total. According to the Dr’s, I should not be walking & doing the things that I can do! I am missing some vital muscles but I do walk without a cane or crutch. If you didn’t know I went thru all of this & you saw me walk, you would never know. That’s the part I like the best. The only thing I will never do again is RUN. The Dr’s told me I wouldn’t be able to do it, so I try. As of now, I am not able to do so because my leg gives out. That’s a small price to pay for LIVING.
In July 2008, I had a “rod” put in my femur for bone strength. I did PT again but this time on my own & in the pool to get my leg going again. The surgeon was shocked when I went to my appointment in Nov 2008 with no cane. I LUV those moments … when they can’t believe what I am able to do! I am considered CURED from sarcoma. However, I am now being monitored for breast cancer & colon cancer due to a genetic mutation issue.
You can see the details of my experience by visiting My Sarcoma Journey. I hope this helps those who read it!