“Being part of the Steps to Cure Sarcoma Committee has also made a deep impact on my life. To be part of something that connects people who are affected by sarcoma and directly raises funds for research to fight the disease is incredible.”
At 23 years old I was a brand new RN working in my dream job as a NICU nurse. When I felt knee pain and swelling I initially thought it was related to long shifts where I spent a lot of time on my feet. One day the swelling became so bad that I couldn’t fully bend my knee and sought care from my PCP. He immediately sent me for an MRI and alerted me that it appeared something was wrong. While laying in the MRI scanner I remember being scared and thinking, “I still have so much more to do in my life”.
Shortly after the MRI, he called me with results- there was, what appeared to be, a liposarcoma in my right thigh. After being told that the local sarcoma doctor could not get me in for an appointment for several weeks and likely wouldn’t be able to biopsy the lesion due to vascularity, my mom called Penn Medicine. Dr. Hartner at Pennsylvania Hematology/Oncology Associates had an appointment for me the next morning. Dr. Hartner reassured me that it would be able to be biopsied and that a plan would be made from there.
Following the biopsy, the diagnosis was confirmed – liposarcoma. A rare tumor that was most common in patients several decades older than me. Treatment started with 5 weeks of proton radiation therapy at the Roberts Proton Center with Dr. Deville. I actually enjoyed going to radiation sessions. The staff was friendly and it was always nice to enjoy a coffee and baked good from the café in the building after treatment.
Following radiation I had surgery with Dr. Fraker at HUP. Surgery went well and following some recovery time, I started chemotherapy.
The treatment was hard, but the staff at Penn’s infusion center, Laetitia Simeral, CRNP, and Dr. Hartner did a great job of making it as bearable as possible. I enjoyed visits from therapy dogs and the other supportive services offered there. I finished therapy, recovered and have been able to move on with my life in meaningful ways.
Being a patient helped me better serve my patients. I continued working as a NICU RN for several years after treatment before moving into pediatric hematology/oncology/bone marrow transplant before becoming a nurse practitioner.
I have traveled with my family, laughed with friends, and built a life with my husband (who proposed following a “clear scans” appointment). We are now thankful to be expecting our first child.
Being part of the Steps to Cure Sarcoma Committee has also made a deep impact on my life. To be part of something that connects people who are affected by sarcoma and directly raises funds for research to fight the disease is incredible. I am always amazed when I hear the scientists speak about the research they have devoted their lives to doing in order to help people who are diagnosed with sarcoma. The dedication of the leaders on the committee is admirable.
When treatment was hard, my parents used the saying “greater later” to remind me that the best was yet to come. No one likes to admit that their parents were right, but they were.
Ryan K.Sarcoma Survivor / Read Story
“The opportunity to volunteer at CHOP will also be a healing experience for me too, to show others that there is life after cancer.”
Lou P.Sarcoma Survivor / Read Story
“Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center has been taking care of me for almost two decades. My care team has given me a quality of life that I never dreamed possible.”
Paulette W.Sarcoma Survivor / Read Story
“Dr. Weber has been a blessing to us over and over again. She saved my life.”
Arianne M.Sarcoma Survivor / Read Story
“I’ve always been a fighter, and with Penn by my side I overcame the biggest obstacle in my life.”
Megan D.Sarcoma Survivor / Read Story
“A positive attitude goes an incredibly long way. I was diagnosed with a one in a million cancer, but now I am one more survivor.”
Frank C.Sarcoma Survivor / Read Story
“Live life to the fullest because you never know what life can throw at you.”
Tracey F.Sarcoma Survivor / Read Story
“I felt so supported and so taken care of from the second I walked into Penn, and by every person in my life, from my family to my friends to my employees.”
Lindasy H.Sarcoma Survivor / Read Story
"To be part of Steps to Cure Sarcoma that connects people who are affected by sarcoma and directly raises funds for research to fight the disease is incredible.”