In July of 2018, halfway through medical school, I was diagnosed with stage 2B, high grade, osteoblastic osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in my left leg. I started extensive chemotherapy right away, and then had major surgery to remove my left femur, knee, top of my tibia, as well as all four of my quad muscles. I had an endoprosthesis placed and a very long scar to show for it, but at least I was (almost) cancer free. After several more rounds of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, and many more trips to A&E to deal with neutropenic sepsis, I was finally in remission. I was given the all clear and a glass of fizz to celebrate.
I learned to walk again, returned to medical school, and travelled. I organised book clubs, camping trips, and birthday parties. I got a Sproodle called Gatsby. I made plans. I did all of this with my amazing partner, Oliver, and a community of friends and family beside me.
But, in October of 2020, the doctors found a new lump in the lining of my left lung. Worst case, we thought, it was a stray cancerous lump that could be removed, and after a few more rounds of chemo I'd be done and dusted. No problem. We were all hopeful, and ready to rally.
It is hard to explain how it feels to be told the worst imaginable. They ended up finding and removing metastatic osteosarcoma tumours from my left pleura (lung lining) and from my left lung, but they'd also found around one hundred more tiny tumours, dispersed throughout my lung and the lining around it. As these tumours cannot be removed by surgery, the cancer was deemed incurable. I now have stage 4, high grade, metastatic, osteoblastic osteosarcoma.
This week I'll be starting palliative chemotherapy, and if possible, I'll be considered for a few clinical trials to slow the disease progression. My team and I hope that with treatment, they can extend my life for as long as possible, but I will need to remain on treatment indefinitely.
We are raising money for the many costs that go along with cancer treatment; such as traveling to and from the cancer centre (which is an hour and twenty minute drive from my house), for the little things that make chemotherapy a little more bearable (like ready-meals, smoothies, and puzzles), for any bucket-list experiences that I really want to do, and most importantly, for any treatment options that are not covered by the NHS.*
*My chemotherapy treatment is covered by the incredible NHS, but there are a few drugs and trials available elsewhere that could give me more time should my disease progress quickly. I would need to self-fund these drugs, and the money raised here may also go towards this cost.
If any of the money raised is not used for these purposes, it will be donated to charities that are funding research into treatment for bone cancer. This is still such an under-funded area of research, despite the typical prognosis for bone cancer being so bad.
If you'd like to follow along with my progress, you can check out my instagram blog to see my cancer journey from the beginning: squashingmysarcoma
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts (and from my bones).
Krista & Oliver
P.S. With special thanks to our beautiful friend Jess, for helping us create this page and for writing our story so eloquently.
- Rachel Ross
- Ainee Ailan Gates
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