There are many children in this world who are faced with fighting cancer. I am one of those children. My name is Amanda Hingson and at the age of seventeen I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. This is a type of bone cancer common is teenage boys in their joints. I had a golf ball size tumor growing from my spine to my ribs. It is highly uncommon for this type of cancer to be in the spine; my doctors were extremely shocked to find this out. Cancer has taken a lot of lives in this world but it knew it would not take mine. There are many ways to treat cancers; I was treated by having two back surgeries and chemotherapy treatments.
My first back surgery was in January of 2005. The doctor removed all the visible parts of the tumor and that back side of four of my ribs. The surgery took about two hours. I recovered well with the help of my loving family and friends. The surgery left a large L shape scar down my back. I was released from the hospital about a week and a half after surgery. At the time I did not know this surgery would be the easiest part of my treatment.
Two weeks later I was told I had cancer. My life changed completely. I met with my oncology doctors at All Children’s Cancer center. It is an amazing hospital. The Doctors told me they had made up a protocol of my chemo treatments and I would be starting next week. By this time I was extremely scared. I went through my treatments like a champ. I was the oldest child in my wing. Every other cancer patient was no older than fifteen and most were under ten. Seeing this broke my heart; however, it changed my look on life. I received different treatments for about two months. I did lose my hair and continually was sick but nothing compared for what was to come.
After those two months of chemo I went to Moffit to have my second back surgery. During this surgery I had the T-8, T-9, and T-10 of my spine removed. I now have a medal rod and six screws in my back. The surgeries did not scare me. I knew I was strong and was not going to let a disease take anything away from me. Three days after my surgery I was up and walking around. About a week and a half after my surgery I was sent home. I was out of chemo treatments for about a month and a half. In that month I did as much as I could with my friends.
Last I went back into chemotherapy treatments. I had received treatments for six months. The treatments got worse as I proceeded with them. I continued to lose weight, not eat, and just stay in my bed. The nurses were always caring and understanding though. At the end of October of 2005 I received a three day treatment. This means I have drugs pumped into me for three days straight. After the treatment I was feeling okay. I was sent home for two days then brought back to the hospital because my blood count was zero, my kidneys were shutting down, and I had a soar throat tat kept me from talking. I was put in an isolation room. I was in the hospital from November first until November twenty-eighth. That whole time I did not eat anything. The doctors had me on a nutrients IV but I just vomited it back up. I did not get out of bed but to use the bathroom. Yes I did spend my worst Thanksgiving in the hospital. I dropped down to ninety pounds. When my blood count finally went back up I was sent home on homecare upon my request. After that treatment I was supposed to get the exact same treatment two weeks later. There were 5 more treatments in my protocol but I decided that I would rather let cancer kill me than chemo. My mother left the choice in my hands to quit chemo or not. At this time all the cancer was removed from my body and the treatments were a precaution to make sure the cancer would not come back. After two weeks of home care I told my doctors I would not be returning to finish out my treatment.
I am now twenty years only and going to college. I am following my heart now. When I chose to stop treatments I have no regrets. I did have a reoccurrence in my lung but it posed no threat. It was easily removed. I am going to school to become a child life therapist. Once I graduate I will work at a hospital with cancer patients helping them cope with their illness. I now volunteer at the hospital that treated me. There is nothing in this world that makes me happier than seeing the smiling faces of the young kids fighting cancer.
What are your thoughts on health issues? How can we promote better health for all Americans?