How I reinvented myself after an osteosarcoma diagnosis

After losing most of my right leg at age 14 in November 2010 due to osteosarcoma, it was really hard for me to give up gymnastics. It had been my whole life up until then, and I’d been good enough at it that I was on track for a college scholarship. But when the nagging knee pain I’d had for about a year turned out to be bone cancer instead of a sports injury, my parents and I came to MD Anderson. There, we met with Dr. Valerae Lewis, and started chemotherapy. However, when my tumor grew larger on chemotherapy, we made the decision to amputate my leg. Given the high odds of recurrence with limb salvage, I didn’t really feel like I had a choice. My cancer wasn’t responding to chemotherapy, and radiation wasn’t effective against osteosarcoma. I tried to go back to gymnastics after I got used to my prosthesis, but I couldn’t perform at nearly the same level, and my heart just wasn’t in it. I tried other sports, too, but nothing gave me that same drive. Then, I went on a ski trip to Utah with MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital in January 2012 and the second I strapped on a snowboard, I knew it was what I wanted to do. Now, I just think of cancer as something that happened to me once upon a time. And I keep my head up and keep moving forward. My unexpected title: Mom It took me about a year after my amputation to be in a prosthetic leg all day. I just didn’t have the same energy I’d...