Deborah's Story

Deborah, Periosteal Osteosarcoma Survivor

Deborah was 21 when she was diagnosed with periosteal osteosarcoma at the tibia and had limb salvage surgery.

I began having leg pain in 1992 when I was 20 years old. It was a strange pain that I would notice when I was pressing my foot on the accelerator in the car. I had a bone scan that showed a hot spot on my tibia. I was diagnosed with a "stress fracture" and ran around in a cast, a boot, and a leg brace for almost a year with no improvement. A tiny lump started to appear in my x-rays and my doctor felt it was probably new bone growing in to repair the fracture. The lump grew VERY rapidly and I was referred to an orthopedic oncologist.

Surgery was scheduled immediately to remove the lump and the frozen section came back negative! Unfortunately when I went back a week later to have my stitches removed, I was told the biopsy was positive and I was diagnosed with periosteal osteosarcoma of the right tibia in October of 1993.


I had limb salvage surgery a few days later. Most of my tibia was removed and replaced with a metal rod, and I had a bone graft from my own hip. Ouch! I was in a wheelchair for a while, then crutches, and after physical therapy I was walking normally again. My major recovery took about a year. Although the situation interrupted my college career, it definitely made me realize that I was a much stronger person than I ever thought I was.


My life is good and, I guess you could say, normal. In November of 2008 I married the love of my life. In June 2010 I gave birth to my wonderful son, and my life has taken on a whole new meaning. I love gardening, reading, surfing the web, and spending time with loved ones. I currently do volunteer work for my local mothers' group. Believe it or not, I even performed in a circus, juggling and WALKING a tight rope!

I am so glad there is so much more information and support available now about sarcoma. I wish these resources had been around in 1993! I am thankful they are here now to support new patients. It's still hard to find a lot of information about sarcoma, but it is a lot easier now thanks to the internet and these great organizations.

I definitely always have the cancer in the back of my mind, but in a way I am glad I had the experience. It’s hard to explain.