Hi there. You've hit upon a page featuring me, Mariane. I wanted you to learn about what I've been dealing with the past few years, and what I've learned from it. I'm 16-years-old, and am in the hospital right now being treated for what the doctors thought might be a return of cancer. Yuck. So far, the tests have not shown that I have it again, so keep your fingers crossed, and say a prayer or two while you're at it. 

Let me begin at the beginning. When I was 13-years-old, I was playing basketball and hurt my ankle. The weird thing about this injury was that it never healed as ankles are supposed to. At the time, the doctor thought it was a problem with a ligament, but later they learned that it was a cancer of the bone called osteosarcoma. Now this osteosarcoma did not come from the basketball accident, but rather, the cancer had weakened the bone, making it easy for the injury to occur. Anyway, I was treated with some strong chemotherapy for ten months. I sure celebrated when I no longer needed to take the medicine!

Unfortunately, one year later I had an x-ray of my lungs, and there was a suspicious looking something in the film. Turned out to be a tumor. You got it, some more cancer! Of course I had it removed, and spent the next 4-5 months getting another series of chemotherapy treatments. 

Although I've been out of school since I was 14, I have certainly not been separated from my friends. I've had a homebound tutor, and have been blessed with having many friends from my church visit me. In fact, I'm very involved in Christian Life Mission, and go on some awesome retreats.  I'm called a peer leader, which means that I get to meet with freshmen to talk with them about race. I really hope that it will result in more people being more open-minded. 

I love talking on the phone, watching TV, spending time on the computer, particularly keeping up with my e-mail, and driving (even have my own car--that I share with my sister!) I'm trying to decide what to wish for, since my condition qualifies me to participate in the Make-A-Wish club. Should I ask for a laptop, some money for clothes, or a trip. What to do???? 

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was in middle school, and a lot of people didn't know what was going on with me. I didn't think it was something they could handle. I was actually pretty optimistic, figuring that it really could happen to anyone. The second time around I had a more difficult time coping with its reappearance. I was so frustrated! When I finish school, I want to be an elementary school teacher, and I do not want the cancer to get in the way of my dreams. 

More about osteosarcoma

Thanks for visiting my page! Mariane

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor Of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 16, 2004