Jake loves sports! He is in his senior year of high school now and loving it. He will be applying to colleges next month and hoping to be a sports announcer in the future since he can no longer play sports. He is a huge sports fanatic. He was the kicker for the football team and as an incoming Junior would have been the varsity kicker. In the spring before his junior year, he started shot put. After a month of practice and one meet, he complained of knee pain. After about a week of it not going away, we took him to his rheumatologist, thinking it was his psoriatic arthritis kicking up. It wasn’t. We had him tested for lime disease. My ex-husband (whose brother died from osteosarcoma when he was 13) asked if we could get a xray. That was a Wednesday, Saturday we had an MRI. Monday I got the call that it was a tumor. We were at Children’s hospital the next day meeting with Dr. Gebhardt and two days later he had a biopsy. That Friday, they confirmed it was osteosarcoma and he went in the next week for a port and his first dose of chemo.
Jake has been amazing with his treatments. He had 9 months of chemo and it made him sick and lose his hair but the worst part was the mouth sores. Other than that he didn’t complain. He had his major resection and a prosthetic put in in August 2016. Continued through chemo but was always in pain with his leg. Went to PT but still, couldn’t walk without pain. Chemo ended in January but his leg still hurt. In April, his 3 month scans were clean. Then in May of 2017, they thought he might have an infection in his leg. We went in and discovered that the metal rod that was now his femur was loose and that was why he was in pain and couldn’t walk properly. They had to replace it with a larger one and now he is walking great. In July he had his 6-month scans and they showed a spot on his lung. It had metastasized and he had lung surgery to remove it the end of July. We had his scans and it spread to his other lung. So he will be having two more lung surgeries in the next two months and then starting chemo in January.
Like most teenagers, Jake couldn’t wait to get his license. That is all he talked about since he was 15. So one obstacle was he was scheduled to get his license in Sept of 2016 but because it was one month after his major surgery and he was in the middle of chemo it had to be postponed and he was crushed. He asked at every doctor appointment when he could get it. We worked it out that in October when he could use his leg (he was still on crutches) and he had a week break from chemo and wasn’t on any pain medications, he finally got his license! But for the most part, because he is 17 and not a complainer, he is trying to be exactly like he would have been so the only obstacles now are fitting in PT, surgery, soon to be chemo and doctors appointments with everything else.
Jake’s diagnosis has been very tough. I feel terrible for Jake’s dad, as he already went through this with his brother. You wonder how it can happen twice in one family. I think I am still in disbelief of it. Jake did so amazing during chemo and bounced back so easily. He never lost weight, had tutors to get him through his Junior year and went into school a lot to see friends. So when they told us it metastasized, it was such a blow because we honestly thought he seemed so physically strong throughout treatment that he beat it. We are back to square one now and I still can’t grasp it. Jake has the thought process “don’t worry, I beat it once I’ll beat it again.” His spirit is amazing.