At midsummer this year my daughter Natalia underwent an operation to replace an endoprosthesis in her left leg. Natalia had been diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma nine years ago. She has been in remission for over five years. Her story is part of an ongoing series featured here on Blogcritics, something I plan to develop into a book.
Her surgery this summer was special both for her personally and for the groundbreaking nature of the procedure.
Natalia was chosen to get a new kind of endoprosthesis. For Natalia it was an eagerly anticipated event. The new endoprosthesis would allow her to bend her knee, something she had not been able to do for years with the fixed form of her old endoprothesis.
The story was featured on the documentary show Découverte on RDI, the French-language arm of the national TV channel, CBC, in an episode entitled "Une Prothèse qui Grandit avec l'Enfant," which translates into English as "the Endoprosthesis that Grows with the Child."
For those who do not speak French I would like to share a translation of the video since it was a landmark event in Canadian health care.
Early in the video Dr Robert Turcotte, the most respected oncological orthopedic surgeon in Quebec, explains that the rapid growth of the long bones in young children may play a role in their vulnerability to bone cancers such as Ewing’s Sarcoma. In Natalia's case she was treated with heavy doses of chemotherapy in Poland and almost underwent a complete amputation of her leg. A second opinion and modified amputation allowed her to keep part of her leg with the support of an endoprosthesis that replaced much of the removed femur. In the intervening years her healthy leg had outgrown the endoprosthetic leg by as much as 9 cm.