A year ago I was on my way to an after hours clinic to get my knee examined. I had discovered a small mass growing behind it that was wedged right in my joint. As I look back, I can’t believe its been a year since I found the little shit.
It all began with a tumor that decided to settle behind my right knee. Based on the impressive scar I now have behind my knee, the tumor was the size of a tennis ball. It started growing in my soft tissue without me ever realizing. I had just graduated from college and was preparing for my new life teaching in a second grade classroom in Maryland. On the day I found the tumor, I had come home from setting up the last bits of my classroom and had a riding lesson for an upcoming horse show that weekend.
During my lesson I decided to wear my tall show boots that settle right into my knee joint. In the middle of my lesson, I had pain behind my right knee; and figured it was just the boot digging into my leg. I was having a blast jumping with Austin, the horse I had leased for the summer. We were jumping an impressive 18 inch cross rails - which is pretty much the smallest height you can jump.
As I was walking Austin back to the cross ties and taking off the various tack items, the pain came back. I decided to unzip the top part of my boot to see if that would help and that's when I felt the bump. I quickly cleaned off Austin, put away his tack, and went home. I changed into shorts and asked my mom to look at it. She immediately had me call the doctor and we went to the after hours clinic.
After a thrilling ride in a wheel chair down a long hallway at the clinic, I had an ultra sound. I could tell the woman was more than excited to have a patient on a Friday afternoon based on how hard she pressed my tumor. I would get the occasional, “I have to push down like this, sorry”. She was lucky at the time I didn’t try to kick her, saying it was a side effect of the tumor. I was told they weren’t sure what it was and not to worry since I would just need some further testing. They also told me I wasn’t allowed to show that weekend and I was pissed. If only they could have given me the news with some flashing lights or a nice line dancing number would I have taken it more seriously.
Fast-forward to Monday when I had my MRI and found out that my tumor was solid and I would have to meet with yet another doctor. By Wednesday I was in my orthopedic surgeon’s office and signed my life away to have a biopsy that afternoon. I was quickly ushered into a room wearing a fabulous hospital gown and robe. Both my surgeon and a resident came in moments later decked out in their surgery ware ready to go. Within minutes my tumor was numbed and then a small incision was made while they collected samples of it.
I was eventually bandaged up and told that I would get the results on Friday. The only information I was given was that it was something that was definitely growing back there. I walked out of the hospital with my bandage behind my knee and my skin was a nice blue/orange color all around it.
We stopped at a gas station on the way to get something quick to eat and drink on the road. It wasn’t until I got to the counter to pay that the lady behind the register obnoxiously asked, “What’s up with the bandage behind your knee? Is it some kind of tattoo?” Looking back I probably should have just said yes, but instead I said, “Nope I just had a biopsy of a tumor behind my knee to find out if I have cancer” with a straight face. Cue the beginning of the jaw drop and awkwardly looking at the floor. Little did I know that this would become one of the signature looks I get when I speak about my sarcomas with a straight face and a dry sense of humor.