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.

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sarena 09/03/2014 05:09 am
Deborah, I was diagnosed with this kind of tumor as well, back in 1985. I had to have it removed twice because it started to grow back almost immediately after it was removed the first time. I had limb salvage type of surgeries and was very thankful for that (as opposed to amputation). It's interesting to hear other stories of the same thing, even 30 years later.
Josephine Lisle 19/11/2012 03:54 pm
Hello, I was diagnosed when I was 17 (am now 23) and had a similar problem with getting a diagnosis. Its so nice to hear positive stories, throughout my treatment my mum has trawled the internet looking for stories of survivors and this is the kind of thing she needs.
Barb Akan 15/10/2012 10:41 pm
Love hearing such wonderful success stories, when there are so many heartbreaking stories! I'm proud to call you my friend, and so glad we got to meet in person! You go girl!!!
MiMi Olsson 30/09/2012 10:32 am
Deborah, thank you for sharing your story. It is important to those still in treatment to read about your gives them hope.

With Hope, MiMi