Grant Recipient & Sarcoma Survivor Story - Korene Mosher
1. When were you originally diagnosed and what sub-type were you given?
I was diagnosed in 1990 at the age of 12, I was in 6th grade. My diagnosis was osteosarcoma of my lower femur bone.
2. What was your initial reaction?
I only knew the word “cancer” to be death. So my initial reaction was thinking I was going to die, and I sat in the chair in my orthopedic surgeon’s office and just cried. Once I understood what chemotherapy was, I accepted the fact that I was going to suffer immeasurably and then die. There were not as many support medications back then, so I was very sick with constant neutropenic fever and vomiting.
3. What was your treatment plan?
I was given a 50/50 chance of survival and was placed on a clinical trial of high dose chemotherapy for 2 months, then surgery to remove ⅔ of my femur bone, then another year plus of chemotherapy. I was very sick for 2 years and was mostly hospitalized that entire time. I was allowed to come home for 1-2 days here and there but was mostly hospitalized. The hospital gave me my own closet space to keep my belongings because I basically lived there for those 2 years on the pediatric unit. Once all the chemo was done and I had my first femur transplant, the following 26 years was filled with surgeries to reconstruct my leg as it would break, or the hardware would come loose.
4. What do you feel is the most important thing when going through cancer treatments?
The most important thing for me was having my mom stay with me. She literally spent every single night in that hospital with me and I could not have survived without her. Because I was physically immobilized during that time, I was very dependent on my mom and the nursing staff for everything. I couldn’t even get up to go to the bathroom on my own, so those years were very vulnerable and dependent on those around me. My mom, dad and nurses carried me to the bathroom, or I even had to use a bedpan much of the time because of my leg being so fragile. So I would have to say my mom and also my dad and nursing staff for physical needs and then arts and crafts and music for emotional distraction. I had a portable stereo in my hospital room with music playing 24/7. I could not fall asleep without music playing. Mostly calming instrumental or faith-based music.
5. What is the best piece of advice you can offer someone going through a similar situation to what you went through?
Identify your support team who you can share your experiences with, stay focused on the positives and the joys in your life and have a hobby, something fun for you that you can do in or out of the hospital.
6. What is one positive thing that has come out of your experience?
My amazing nurses inspired me to become a nurse and now a doctor so that I can now share my experiences with my oncology patients and those dealing with similar circumstances. I did not expect to live and as a result I have an outlook on life that only sees the good, positive and joys in little things. I have an excitement about life that I would not have, had I not gone through a life or death situation. I love being able to participate in new activities and experience new things and see the sun rise each morning and dance in the rain simply because I am alive to do so. I never thought I would live to be an adult so each day is a new adventure and a journey to be the best version of myself that I can be so that I can share my life with those around me and especially my patients going through cancer and chemotherapy treatment now.
The Move For Jenn Foundation is honored to work with ST&G Corporation on a cycling knee and Hanger Clinic on a cycling seated socket for Korene to compete in triathlons. She completed her first one this weekend! Congrats Korene!!!
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