Taylor's Story

Timeline:
Dx. October 2009

chemo - November 2009

rotationplasy in February 2010

finished Chemo in November 2010

received her 1st prosthesis  in December 2010.

surgery on pre-cancerous melanoma spot off  lung in January 2011

In 2009, Taylor was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her left femur at the age of 10. After the first couple of rounds of chemotherapy, Taylor was to have surgery to remove the tumor. At first it looked like we would be able to spare her leg and replace the portion of femur with a composite bone. But days before the surgery the new scans showed the tumor was spreading to her knee. It was no longer an option to save her leg.  

There was, however, a relatively rare procedure that would give her function with a prosthetic, but it would mean attaching her foot backwards as a knee. We also had the option of a standard amputation. We would have only a few days to decide. It was hard not only to wrap our minds around the idea that Taylor was going to lose her leg, but also decide which kind of amputation she would have. There were hours of conversations about what would be the best choice for Taylor. We always kept her informed of every decision and all the information she wanted. 

She did not want any surprises. 

We were, in a sense, morning her leg. A part of her as we had always known her. At some point we had to come to the realization that she is not her leg; That her parts separately do not make her who she is. She is a spunky, quirky, talkative, outgoing child with a huge heart, and that hadn't changed.  

The questions we had:

What would give her the most independence? 

What if she was teased? 

What will she be comfortable with?

Will she still be able to do the things she likes to do? 

How many times will we need subsequent surgeries?

What if we make the wrong choice?

After much deliberation, we decided the best thing for her was the rotationplasty.  

After the surgery was done, she was very wary of moving the leg. She didn't know quite how it was held together, and was afraid that if she stood up, the weight would make it fall off. I hadn't anticipated that concern. So we called the doctor in to explain it for her. When she understood that it was not only the staples from the surgery holding it on, but also the plate fixed on the bone and that it was sturdy, she slowly stood up.  

It wasn't long after that she was flying on those crutches again. 

After her chemo was done, she was fitted for a prosthesis.  

Yes, I cried when she took her first steps all over again. But now she walks everywhere. She takes her leg off at home or when she swims, and is very comfortable with it. In the beginning she worried about people staring. We discussed that even though it's rude, people are curious, and sometimes just don't know how to ask. She's ok with that.  

She participates in P.E. And has been canoeing, horseback riding, wall climbing, even roller skating. She can do everything anyone else can do.  

The option to have a rotationplasty was a blessing. It really would have been much more difficult without it. She is so independent and active. I am so happy that we were given this alternative.