Joseph 43,

Don't give up the fight!

"My story begins in July 2012, I was on the Isle of Wight on a family holiday. Sitting in the garden of our rented house for the week enjoying the sunshine, a glass of wine I decided to ask my partner Sarah what she thought of the small lump in my arm, you could see it just under the skin above my elbow. Of course her reaction was to say I should get it checked out, both Sarah and I lost our fathers to cancer. In the November of 2012 after X rays an ultrasound and a MRI I was diagnosed with Sarcoma in my right arm, a rare cancer which accounts for only one percent of diagnosed cancers. The whirlwind began and my consultant booked me in for surgery in 3 days time for an excision of the tumour. All went well and I took my self home to recover and get ready for Christmas. A positive margin was gained but due to the tumour siting on a nerve ii was referred for a course of radio therapy in the new year. Almost a year to the day in November 2013 I knocked my arm on the side of my bed, I felt a very memorable pain, a searing shock which I remembered well from the biopsy I had had a year earlier, I kept it to myself I was pretty sure what it was and was at the health centre the very next morning. I had a reoccurrence within the field of radiation, bells started ringing and all were concerned by the cancers radio resistance. It was like ground hog day, the next week I was again admitted, the tumour removed and I had time to recover before Christmas kicked in. Next steps were tricky, what options did we have to ensure we didn't have a second reoccurrence? None, after many referrals and consultation it was decided we would wait for the second. If and when it occurred we would hit it hard with an ILP, this is where chemo is administered directly in the arm, due to it not being systemic much higher doses can be given. Six months down the line, I felt that familiar pain in my arm. My friend was back! This time he has sent a buddy of his to make a home in my left lung. Once again I was under the knife. This time I was making friends with a new consultant, a chest surgeon, my circle of Sarcoma buddies was growing. The tumour was removed and I went home to yet again recover, this time though it wasn't the end of the battle. I had 6 weeks to get ready for my ILP. Mid August Sarah and I got on a train to London with packed bags for the next few days. Once again I woke up in a recovery room. Another Six weeks later I got the news that Unfortunately my ILP hadn't worked, on the bright side my chest was still clear. I would be again heading to the hospital to remove the third tumour from my arm. This time though my arm would go with it. That's right, the only surgical option left to us was amputation. The amputation was followed by six months of intense chemotherapy which finished just over a year ago. Touch wood I have now had two clear scans and life is getting back to as normal as one could hope."

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