Salvaging, Surrendering, and Saying Goodbye to My Leg

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Taylor & Francis


Nearly 20 years after my diagnosis with osteogenic sarcoma—a virulent, fist-sized tumor in my right femur just above the knee—my surgeon and I made the difficult decision to amputate my leg. After 12 reconstructive surgeries on my leg (and several on my chest and abdomen), 13 months of chemotherapy, three major staph and/or strep infections in my knee, and a promise that yet another surgical reconstruction of my leg would necessitate a lifetime on daily antibiotics and give me a knee that would almost certainly cease to function within a couple years, I was done. I had a good cry, talked with my spouse, Glenn, and then called and left a message with my surgeon’s nurse. “Please tell Dr. Leighton1 I’ll take the amputation,” I told her.