Sarcoma Survivor Stories - Meet Katie Krynicki
When were you originally diagnosed and what sub-type were you given?I was diagnosed with Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma (MFH) (soft tissue sarcoma), at the age of 15 (in 1994). This is a very common cancer in adults (mainly men age 50+) but much more rare in children. It was never determined if it started in the soft tissue or the bone, as it was very advanced when discovered, having only about 20% of a heel bone remaining.
What was your initial reaction?
For myself, the first talk of what could be happening actually came from the sports medicine doctor, who had ordered the x-ray believing I had a stress fracture due to sports. I remember being in his office and him discussing that we needed to immediately follow up with an MRI and an oncologist. At the age of 15, I don’t think I truly understood what everything meant during that first appointment. I have a vivid memory of the doctor discussing “radical” surgery and me not fully comprehending what he was even talking about. On the car ride home my mom asked if I understood what was meant by radical surgery. Once she explained that it meant having my leg amputated I began to understand the severity of what was happening. I was in a bit of denial until the official results of the MRI and biopsy came back with the official diagnosis and the treatment plan was decided. I realized, even at the age of 15, that in order to increase my chance of survival I would need the amputation and the chemotherapy. It was never easy to accept but I also knew that this was incredibly hard on my parents and I needed to be brave for them and myself.
What was your treatment plan?In order to increase my chance of survival and not having re-occurrence it was very quickly decided that my leg would need to be amputated. It was one week from when the results of the biopsy came back until the surgery. For the next step of my treatment there was actually a lot of debate over the correct plan. At the time a few doctors debated the exact type of cancer and there was no protocol to treat MFH in my type of pediatric case. After consulting with various hospitals and doctors it was decided to treat utilizing an osteosarcoma treatment plan involving high dose in-patient chemotherapy.
What do you feel is the most important thing when going through cancer treatments?
I feel the most important thing when going through cancer treatment is the support of family and friends along with the power of prayer. Their love and faith can help you stay positive as you fight your battle.
Did you have a recurrence and how long were you in remission before this occurred?I am blessed to say in almost 25 years I have not had any recurrence.
What is the best piece of advice you can offer someone going through a similar situation to what you went through?Everyone will deal with diagnosis and treatment differently. My advice is to surround yourself with positive people, thoughts, laughter, prayer, and activities you enjoy. It is going to be a challenge to stay uplifted and bright through it all, you will have rough times and days, and that is okay. Find people and things that bring you happiness and make you smile.
What is one positive thing that has come out of your experience?
It has been 25 years since my diagnosis, amputation, and treatment. I have learned that I am a positive and inspirational person. I enjoy challenging myself with new adventures and goals to achieve. In doing so I hope that I am pushing others to push themselves. Life is always full of challenges and it is those challenges that make us grow and become stronger. Hopefully I can bring encouragement to others in whatever journey they are on. Nothing can stop you!