My name is Shauna George. I am an Ewing Sarcoma Survivor.
In the beginning of April 2010, I had constant pain in my right thigh from muscle cramps. After months of trying to massaging it out, using ice packs, and even a TENS unit, we went to an orthopedic doctor upon the advice of our chiropractor, Dr. Fugere.
The orthopedic doctor, Dr. Berry, x-rayed my leg. After reading the x-ray, he told us that an appointment with Dr. Maale, an orthopedic oncologist, had been made for me that same day. After several days of tests, scans and a biopsy, Dr. Maale, diagnosed me with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a childhood cancer that affects the bone and soft tissues. Further testing revealed the cancer had spread to my lungs.
My treatment began mid-April, 2010 and involved 14 rounds of chemotherapy at Children’s Medical Center, surgery on my leg to replace the femur with a titanium prosthetic while undergoing chemo treatments, and radiation on my lungs once chemotherapy was completed. I completed my final round of chemo on February 11th, 2011, just before my 17th birthday.
Being diagnosed with cancer as a teenager is difficult; you are forced to grow up faster than you should and know things kids should never have to know about. You can no longer be a normal teenager. It seems your whole life and the lives of your family members revolve around this unwanted intruder called cancer.
The cancer diagnosis caused a delay in my graduation from high school; however, I was determined to graduate on time and with my class. It was hard and took a lot of work, but I finally graduated mid-August 2012. I have now started college!
Being diagnosed with cancer was a huge strain on relationships and a huge burden to carry; it also affected me in positive ways. I built a more trusting relationship with my parents that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I learned to have a more positive attitude. Everyone can succumb to having a pity party, especially when diagnosed with cancer, but I had friends who would let me slip into my pity party for a just few minutes before they pulled me out and told me to get over it. I knew it was because they all loved me. I also saw first-hand the power of prayer. There were friends, family and even people I didn’t know praying for me daily. I thank God for the strength he gave my family and me in our answered prayers!
Today, I still face challenges that sometimes seem hard; but, I look back at what I have overcome and I know that everything will be okay. I know that I can do it. I do my best to not let my situation give me an excuse to not have a normal life. Yes, some things are challenging, but it could be much worse and I choose to look at life positively and do what I can do. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I know; I have lived it.
Childhood cancer awareness has become extremely important to me. A lot of people are familiar with the Susan G Komen Foundation, pink ribbons and breast cancer. Few people are aware that each year thousands of children are diagnosed with cancer. Childhood cancers are the number one cause of death from disease in children. Childhood cancers are not related to lifestyle choices and there are no screening tests. Most drugs used to treat of children have been developed for adults. More research is needed to develop drugs specifically for the treatment of children. Join me in raising awareness and so that children can have a tomorrow in their future.
I would like to thank my family, friends, and the wonderful staff at Children’s Medical Center for making a difficult time bearable. It may sound funny, but there are times I miss the hospital stays. Thank you for reading my story. I hope it encourages you; I pray it makes a difference. God Bless.
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