It was (nine) years ago today….

I look forward to singing along with the Beatles eleven years from now… “It was twenty years ago today….” but today marks nine years since I was biopsied, diagnosed, treated, and cured of an adult bone cancer called chondrosarcoma all on the same day: June 7, 2007. The cancer was in my left knee, right at the end of the femur, and it was about the size of my fist. The reason I was having all those things done, of course, was that it was a pretty good bet, based on the MRI, that I had chondrosarcoma, but until the biopsy was done, no one was positive. I had a biopsy, followed by cleaning out the tumor, followed by a bone graft and a mending plate. The mending plate was removed in January of 2009.

The surgery went well but I was humiliated by hearing the nurses announce my weight as they transferred me to and from the bed after the surgery. It was for their safety, of course, since I couldn’t assist in lifting myself, but it took four of them to safely move me.

And of course, I had knee surgery. After the surgery, every step I took hurt. Every single step. I limped. I used a cane. I was gently informed, by several different orthopedists, that every step puts four times your weight on your knee joint.

The experience changed my outlook on my health. Before the surgery, I thought of myself as “fat but fit”. I had a lot of stamina, I could walk for hours and hours. After… not so much. It took four years of off-and-on-and-off-and-on physical therapy to walk without a limp. I found a nutritionist who told me my diet was good, but I still wasn’t losing weight, which was a problem, because my knees–both of them now–hurt all the time. I figured out for myself that, if my diet was supposedly right, and I still wasn’t losing, perhaps my metabolism was just more efficient than most peoples’ metabolisms. Okay, I needed to move more, eat less, eat more carefully. I learned to eat more carefully, and figured out what works for me. Not what works for “most people”–what works for me.