My knee began getting sore while playing tennis around Easter of 2005. I was 14 at the time. My mum took me to see a consultant and we were told there was a possibility that I may have a form of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma. After a biopsy and tests it was confirmed. I was told I would have to have chemotherapy and major surgery on my knee to get rid of it. I began treatment at the start of June in Our Lady’s Hospital Crumlin and the chemo really took its toll on me!
After around four months of treatment I went to the National Orthopaedic Hospital in Cappagh to have my surgery. The surgery consisted of my knee and parts of the bones above and below being removed and replaced with a metal prosthesis. I spent about two weeks in Cappagh before returning to Crumlin. I spent three months in a leg brace and had to do a lot of hard and sore physiotherapy to get my knee to bend properly again and get to where I am today.
The chemotherapy that I received had a big effect on my body and in particular on my blood. After almost every round of chemo either my white or red blood cells or my platelets were low which meant I felt very weak and a low platelet count would mean that I could get nosebleeds often which would take a long time to stop. Because of this I needed platelet transfusions often to bring my platelet count back to normal and make me strong enough for the next round. I finished chemo in January 2006 and have been doing great since.
Before I became sick and needed these transfusions I would never have realised how important they are. To someone who is sick and feeling ill it is comforting to know that the blood and platelets are there when you need them. I would really encourage people to donate because there are so many people like me to whom they are invaluable. I would also like to thank all the people who already donate and hope you keep it up, it really makes a difference and enables people going through treatment to stay strong enough to keep going!!
Leah - Blood and Platelet Recipient