Symptoms began in January 2013 with unspecified pain in the left leg. It worsened over time and started at his outer thigh and travelled inwards and over his knee cap and down his calf. The pain became excruciating and no over-the-counter drug helped. His leg started to buckle without warning and he fell a few times. He couldn’t sleep at night and couldn’t get comfortable in any position. There were several months of doctors’ appointments, physiotherapy, chiropractic, even a massage to try to find the source of his pain.
Finally on 19 July 2013 Mathew had an MRI that detected the tumour. He was immediately sent for a CT scan where it was determined he had an 8 cm tumour on the left side of his spine at the L3 (lunbar). A needle-core biopsy was performed and a couple of weeks later it came back as Ewing’s Sarcoma, primary bone cancer in his spine.
A power port was inserted under his right breast bone. All blood work and chemotherapy is delivered through this port by iv line when it is accessed. You can’t see it under his skin and it doesn’t bother him.
1. Thirteen cycles of chemotherapy. Odd cycles consisted of Vincristine, Doxorubicon and Cyclospharmide. The even cycles consisted of Etoposide and Ifosfamide and were given daily over 5 days as an in-patient. He received mesna with the inpatient chemo to protect his bladder and kidneys from damage.
2. Radiation: 28 doses from February to March 2014
Mathew received many blood and platelet transfusions after treatment when his blood counts bottomed out. His feeding tube constantly became infected when his counts dropped and eventually he was put on a preventive prescription to help. Side effects of chemo treatment included C-diff, other diarrhea, severe constipation, severe nausea, fatigue and dizziness and faintness when his hemoglobin levels fell too low.
Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare cancer that strikes young adults and children. It occurs in the bones and soft tissue of the body; primarily in the long bones of the body but also the pelvis, shoulders and spine. It is rare as a primary tumour in the spine. It is an aggressive cancer that is classed as localized or metastasized (in Canada). It is believed that over 30% of patients have metastasized microscopic cancer cells at the time of cancer diagnosis. For this reason Ewing’s Sarcoma is treated aggressively as if it has already spread.
For more information on this depressing disease there are many websites that go into detail about this cancer and all of its nasty statistics. At present time there is no known cause of this cancer, although some research indicates that there is a switch in material between chromosome 11 and 22 sometime after birth but the trigger or reason isn’t known.