As told by Dianna Delmonaco
Age: 16 yrs
I was just your average 13 year old starting back to school as an 8th grader. I had some pain in my leg on and off and figured it was from playing basketball or some sort of pulled muscle but one day after school I really didn’t feel good, I had a bad headache, was sore all over and had a very low fever so my mom took me to the doctor thinking maybe it was the flu or Lyme Disease. My doctor sent me for an x-ray and blood work but after the x-ray I didn’t need the blood work because they saw something they didn’t like and I was immediately referred to Yale Children’s Oncology. I had to go through many scans and then a biopsy to determine what it was and on September 9, 2009 our worst fears came to light, I was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma.
The tumor was found on my left femur bone. I had 7 cycles of chemotherapy which consisted of 5 drugs so I was in the hospital 5 days a week getting 3 drugs through an IV alternating with three days in the hospital receiving the other 2 drugs. Since the tumor was shrinking I was able to have the operation on my femur to remove the tumor. They took bone out and replaced it with a cadaver bone with pins and screws and a metal plate holding it all together. After this surgery I did 7 more cycles of treatment. After I finished treatment I had routine scans very 3 months to make sure it didn’t come back.
On my 9-month scan they found that the cancer had spread to my right lung. I got chemotherapy again but it was a different kind. Half was through treatment I had a partial lobectomy, which is where they take out part of your lung, in my case it was the lower lobe of my lung. When I was done with that, I got 10 cycles of radiation to my lungs. Once again I continued to have routine scans every 3 months. 16 months into remission, they found something in my left lung. They were not sure it was anything so they just watched it. They were telling us it was not growing and it was okay. I went for a second opinion and I was told that it was growing and I had to start chemotherapy right away. The Doctor told me that the chance of it going away for good wasn’t very likely. I had the piece taken out of my lung shortly after and then started a new treatment which I am taking now. At this point my treatments are ALL experimental because I have gotten all they know usually works for my cancer. This is why I am trying to raise awareness for childhood cancer research, not just for me but future cancer patients! We should never have to hear “there is nothing else we can do” or “we don’t have a cure for your cancer”! We should never even have to hear “you have cancer” This may be a bump in my road and a detour in my life, but I refuse to let it run my life or take me down and I REFUSE TO SINK !!!