Becoming A Sarcoma Amputee
Since being thrown into the world of amputation and prosthetics in 2018, I have learned so much and have met so many amazing amputees along the way. I wanted to use my story to make a difference. Prior to my amputation, I didn’t know a single person who had been through an amputation. My journey wasn’t easy, but no one said it would be. In January 2018, my low-grade myxoid sarcoma tumor came back after having the mass on my foot removed. I had regular scans on my foot and lungs, and it was discovered that the tumor had returned. Doctors told me that it had the potential to spread and could eventually kill me. Ultimately, the choice I faced was my life or my leg. I decided to move forward with amputation, and haven’t looked back since. I now have a prosthetic foot and have learned to successfully walk and run again. My goal is to encourage others and give them hope that despite the hardship of losing a limb, you can recover, move on successfully, and resume life with the help of prosthetic solutions.
Turning Cancer Into Opportunities
Before I received my foot amputation, I had thought a lot about how much my life would change after the amputation. The medical staff made me aware of what typical amputees experience after the surgery, but I set my own expectations and decided to make sure my story had a happy ending. The loss of my limb has forever changed how I experience life. Getting a prosthetic can be astronomical both emotionally and financially. What I’ve discovered throughout my personal journey, is that there is not enough research and information available to patients, regarding sarcoma cancer. This is why we started the Move For Jenn Foundation. I was shocked to learn about the problems faced by amputees seeking active-wear prosthetics. You need various prosthetics; You need one for your everyday activities, you need one if you want to run, you need one if you want to be in the water, and then, of course, they need to be tweaked every 3-5 years or replaced. Being active and being able to “move because you can”, is such an important part of my life and for someone being denied to be able to get out and go for a run or run with their kids, or go swimming because of a financial situation, tears me apart. It’s important for me to be able to offer amputee support. Because of its rarity, sarcoma is deemed the “forgotten cancer.” Being a sarcoma survivor, I don’t want sarcoma cancer to go unnoticed due to the lack of publicity, rather spoken about more, in order to raise sarcoma awareness.
I’ve led and participated in a number of presentations, lectures, and seminars solely because I found it disappointing that there was a lack of exposure to patients who have moved on successfully after their amputation. The Move For Jenn Foundation raises awareness through fundraising events, while helping amputees afford or obtain an active-wear prosthetic enabling them to regain strength and mobility, and ultimately getting them back to physical activities they enjoyed prior to amputation.
Life With Prosthetic Limbs
Just because you may have lost a limb recently, or are needing to make the tough decision to go through with amputation, doesn’t mean you can’t live a full life. There are better days ahead, I promise. I can truly say that I regained confidence after being fitted for a prosthetic limb. Getting a prosthetic was just another step in my journey towards returning to my new normal after surgery. It not only improved my quality of life, but it made me realize that what I was used to doing before my amputation, I could do again. Achieving something challenging can significantly boost confidence. Last year, I had two goals for myself after getting my prosthetic leg: 1) To walk unassisted without my crutches, & 2) Run a 5k. Both of which I am proud to say I’ve accomplished. I have even completed 3 10k races, of which I never did on two feet. I decided to take the word “can’t” out of my vocabulary, always pushing myself to my full potential. Whatever path you may take during your cancer journey, do not give up. There will be obstacles along the way, but eventually, you will succeed.
Let’s Fight Sarcoma Together!
The Move For Jenn Foundation aims to further highlight the challenges that sarcoma patients experience, and the overall need for more sarcoma research. Every donation matters, even the smallest offering of support is greatly appreciated. Please join us in our efforts to bring awareness to the sarcoma community by attending one of our events, or by purchasing some fun cancer-fighting shirts on our website. Sign up for our newsletter below to stay updated on upcoming events, new products and volunteer opportunities around the Queen City. With your help, we can help fight sarcoma and give amputees an opportunity to keep moving!
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Thanks so much for sharing all your experience. I was amputated below the knee several months ago because of a leiomyosarcoma in my foot and I am now walking and living normally. I live in Belgium and I have always felt very positive despite all that I have gone through. Also, my PET-scans have alwats been excellent (no mets or recurrence at all so far).