Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma. Two years ago, I would have struggled to pronounce this cancer. Now I can spell it and explain it – effortlessly.
Cancer is my family’s Achilles heel. It created a vulnerable weakness that allowed heartache, disappointment, exhaustion, frustration, confusion, anger and pain to enter our sacred, happy and peaceful family space.
Aggressive and rare, Undifferentiated Pleomorphic Sarcoma (UPS) is a stealth killer if not detected early. Brendan had no early symptoms that weren’t explained away as a sporting injury; until a tumour in his femur grew large enough to crack the bone.
A month was all it took to rob Brendan of his right leg when cancer recurred at the original site after the primary tumour was removed. The first operation had resulted in his left femur and knee being replaced. A lobectomy followed to remove small tumours in his lung. And then, satellite cancer cells created another tumour at the original site. This tumour grew as fast as Usain Bolt ran 100.
After the amputation, Bren underwent a course of 3-day chemotherapy cycles. And now we wait for the MRI results. We are trying not to be concerned about the results. But we hope they are good and clear. We are not up for another 12-hour round trip to do them again.
We have been asked a lot about why we have to travel 4 hours to a city hospital for Bren’s treatment when there is an oncology department in our area. We have to do that because UPS is rare. The treatment regimes are complex. His Multidisciplinary team are in the city and have an entire city block of medical professionals at their disposal. Each individual in his team has the specific expertise needed to meet Brendans medical needs.
This June, we are celebrating Brendan living with cancer for two years. He is a survivor, and now we are aiming for 5-years.
marker and that might allow us a minute to breathe without looking over
We want to thank our family and friends, neighbours and community, along with Brendan’s medical team and those who support them and the patients they care for. We are humbly grateful.
Above all else, I thank my kids and my husband. You three make everything worthwhile.
Life is good, and hope is limitless.