In August 2012 I was an 8 year old boy and had just started second grade in school. I liked to play football and ride my bike. In the summer my mother was surprised to see all my trousers getting too small at the waist. My mother thought I had been eating too much ice cream because none of my trousers would button up anymore.
On August 1st 2012 I felt pain in the back of my right thigh for the first time. Next week my father took me to see the doctor and my leg was x-rayed but there didn’t seem to be anything wrong there. All we could see in the x-ray was white bones. I was prescribed a course of pain medication for the next few weeks and that took the pain away. Around that time however, I noticed that running had become more difficult and walking down the stairs even more so.
Another visit to the doctor and an MRI-scan on September 11th 2012 revealed the horrible truth; high up on the right side of my pelvis, there was a large tumour and we got an urgent referral to Turku University Hospital. Soon after various examinations the diagnosis was confirmed as a type of bone cancer called osteosarcoma.
I got started on chemotherapy the following week, which is when my father and mother were told that the tumour had twisted around my sciatic nerve and the vascular system on my right leg. My right leg or pelvis could not be saved without the cancer spreading. In December 2012 my right leg, right side of my pelvis and a part of my sacrum were amputated. Chemotherapy was continued until august 2013. The treatment finished in October 2013 with an autologous stem cell transplant.
At the moment I’m doing well and I am cancer-free. I have a wheelchair to help me get around but I have also practiced walking with crutches. I attend a special school in Turku, where I get more help than I would in a normal school. I need rest in between classes. In a special school, that’s possible too.
After my amputation, I’ve been in a lot of pain due to a large nerve being severed; this nerve travels from the tip of your toe all the way to your brain. My pain is being treated both at home and in a hospital. In the spring 2015 I was told that my spine had developed an awkward curve which would need an operation and titanium rods to straighten it.
According to the doctor, the curvature was caused by walking on one leg, which put enough pressure on my spine to twist it. Recuperation in the summertime was painful and it took a long time. Being in hospital during your summer holidays is so boring. The fact that one of the rods in my back snapped in July 2015 didn’t exactly help as I had to have another operation and start recovery all over again.
Mum and dad say that nobody but me can understand what it’s like to have this cancer – what I’ve had to face and put up with. According to them I am the most determined and the bravest boy they know. My little brother and my sisters agree.
Here's some of my dad’s thoughts during the more difficult periods of my illness:
I accept this fact. I live one moment at a time, enjoying the good ones. I will manage and understand when being tried by the bad ones. I won’t sacrifice myself by speculating on things I cannot affect.
I see a lot of possibilities in the future, but I’m careful not to compare them to those of the past. We’re a family who has been put through a test. Every one of us has had to give up something, Oskari more than anyone else.
Together, we’ll move forward.