In early June of 2010, Owen was throwing a baseball with his brother outside after school one afternoon. He mentioned later that night that his shoulder was feeling a little sore. We did what most parents did and assumed that he just had a sore muscle. About a week later he came home from school saying that he had felt a snapping sensation in that same shoulder after throwing a shot put in gym class. A quick trip to the pediatrician didn’t reveal anything unusual – they figured (as we had) that he’d probably just pulled a muscle and it would start feeling better in a few days. It wasn’t anything that some general pain medication couldn’t fix.
A couple weeks went by and Owen mentioned that his shoulder still wasn’t feeling better. In questioning him, it still sounded just really sore, but nothing too alarming. This time, we decided to skip the pediatrician and go straight to the Orthopedic doctors. We figured they would most likely do X-rays which would help us determine if he had broken a bone or severely sprained a muscle. Much to our surprise it was neither of those.
The X-ray revealed that there was a fist size growth just below Owen’s right shoulder. A trip to a specialist confirmed that we were probably looking at an aggressive malignant bone tumor. After having just about every kind of test that exists, we found out that Owen’s tumor was a rare form of cancer called osteosarcoma.
On June 24th Owen began receiving aggressive chemotherapy. A few weeks later on September 17, Owen underwent 9 hours of surgery to remove the majority of his right humerus bone and his right deltoid muscle. In removing the bone they had to detach all of the muscles and nerves in his arm and then reattach them to a fibrous material surrounding his prosthesis. His prosthesis is just a metal rod that acts as the removed part of the humerus bone in his right arm. After almost 6 months of physical therapy Owen regained about a 30% range of motion with his right arm.
In March of 2011, we were all elated to now hear that Owen was done with chemo and physical therapy and able to go on being a typical teenage boy. But, only 3 months later at a post-cancer checkup, we learned that his osteosarcoma had returned in multiple locations in his lungs.
We are now on fight two of Owen’s battle with cancer. I wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone. However, daily we are inspired by the strength, compassion, and hope that we see within all of the children and their families in this battle with us. Please join us in our vow to honor those courageously fighting, by continuing to provide funding for the advancement of children’s cancer research and treatments.