Funny Bones

It all started at the most important varsity baseball game of his career. Philip Ryan, a young high school prodigy, was next up to bat, and with a runner on third base, he was determined to hit in another run to give his team the lead. He had, however, been feeling a throbbing pain in his upper thigh in the few weeks following his eighteenth birthday, but had chosen to ignore it because he was afraid of losing his chance to play on the team during his final year of high school. This game, however,
could change the course of his baseball career, since there were multiple scouts from his dream school, UCLA, and the MLB watching him from the bleachers. This was not the time to sit on the bench but because of some unexplainable pain and consequently miss the biggest opportunity of his life.

The crowd cheered, and suddenly Philip was standing at home plate. He fit in a last practice swing before he got into position and stared directly at the pitcher. The hot blazing sun was beating its  bright rays across his face, making him squint. He focused his eyes on the pitcher steadily, positioned himself, and stood at ready.  As the pitcher got into position, the pain in his leg suddenly flared sharply again. Before he had time to react, the ball was flew towards  him causing  him to reflexively swing which sent it soaring into center field. He began running to first base, with a slight limp in his step and much slower than usual.  The center fielder had caught the ball and was throwing it to the first baseman just as Philip was getting close to the base. Urged on by the cheers and screams of the crowd, he fell into a slide to beat the ball to first base.

Crack!

The pain in Philip’s upper thigh pain seared as it never had before. He laid on the ground, staring blankly at the confused and scared faces sitting in the bleachers. The recruitment officers looked back at him with a disapproving smirk on their faces. The first baseman bent over him, and after a few moments, he shouted towards the dugout, “Hey coach, his leg is bent funny!”  Worried chatter broke out between the crowd and the players on the field. As coaches and parents began to huddle over him, Philip’s eyesight was blurred by tears, which were unavoidable thanks to the excruciating agony in his leg. Before he knew what was happening, he passed out.

 

Philip woke up hours later in a dark hospital room. Looking at the clock next to his bed, he saw that it was well past midnight. As he attempted to sit upright to look out the window on the wall next to him, the stinging in his leg reminded him as to why he was in the hospital in the first place. He winced and looked down at his thigh, which was now bandaged tightly and propped up on some pillows.

“Good evening, Mr. Ryan. I’m Dr. Wallace. ”

A short doctor wearing large glasses had appeared in the doorway, holding a large clipboard. He flipped the light switch, and the large ceiling lights slowly flickered on. “How is your leg feeling now?”

“I’m not gonna lie, doc. It… ow…. it hurts a lot.”

There was a sad smile on Dr. Wallace’s face. “I would imagine so. It seems like you’ve run into a little bit of trouble with your right femur bone.” He pulled some x-rays out of his clipboard and walked over to the bedside. “I have some scans of your bone that you might want to take a good look at.”

Philip took the glossy papers out of Dr. Wallace’s hand and stared at them intently. It was at this moment that he wished he had paid a little more attention in his biology class freshman year. “Well, I can definitely see that my leg is broken. But I didn’t know that femur bones had that big lump in the middle.”

“Well, Mr. Ryan, that’s because they normally don’t.”

Philip was confused by Dr. Wallace’s statement at first. After a few moments of tense silence, it finally began to dawn on him as to what his doctor could be implying. “Are you saying that . . .”

“I’m afraid to inform you that you have osteosarcoma in your femur bone, Mr. Ryan. This is the most common form of bone cancer in young adults your age.”

“I have cancer?” Philip quickly began to panic, his short breaths soon turning into full-on hyperventilation. “But I can’t, I’m only eighteen! I was supposed to go to college and play in the major leagues, it’s not fair! I can’t die yet…”

Dr. Wallace gave Philip a reassuring pat on the back. “Mr. Ryan, I’m going to have to ask you to calm down. While you may have broken your bone as well, it’s a good thing you’ve done it now rather than later, as we were able to find the osteosarcoma while it was still localized. People who are diagnosed at this stage have can have up to an eighty percent chance of survival. Since you are in such good physical health otherwise, I think I can safely say that your chances of recovery are notably excellent.”

“Well, how can we treat the … what is it called… osteosarcoma?”

Dr. Wallace smiled at Philip. “Luckily for you, we have many different forms of treatment for osteosarcoma.”

“Well Philip the localized chance of survival rate is from 60-80% chance and the spread is from 15-30%. As most cancerous treatments they uphold various types of procedures and also side effects that might seem harmful, many treatments for your type of illness can be less troublesome. For instance, amputation is the initial treatment, though not alone will prevent metastasis. In that case we highly recommend to have the amputation go through along with chemotherapy, in order to increase the survival rate and time. Surgery may seem as a possibility, however the surgical techniques are to only save the limb and not the actual prognosis.  If you agree to have this facility than i can assure you that we will stop at nothing to make sure you can overcome this matter. Your medical team can help with the after effects later by carrying on through a professional and trustworthy line of nutritionists, psychologists, and physical therapists.”

This whole shocking reality of his downfall was overwhelming for him. He couldn’t possibly be the one to lose his once in a lifetime chance in his dream due to a stupid lump in his leg! And as he heard of the treatments and risks he started to worry even more about his chances of survival. A bead of sweat silently went down his forward as he continued to stare at the floor in disbelief. He knew that if he took the treatment that his life would much more difficult and he wouldn’t be able to have many chances into his career as before. However he realized that if he didn’t try at all that there wouldn’t even be the slightest chance of him playing baseball ever again. Philip knew he would not lose his passion over this and that even if there would be hardships, that he achieve anew. He took a deep breath and stared into the eyes of the doctor, “I’m ready”.

Philip sighed while staring at the clouds through the window, lying in the hospital bed. It’s been around two months since he had progressed with the treatment and he was already feeling the results of endurance and hardship. Weeks he had to go through medical techniques and testings that even himself didn’t understand so well. But with the love and support from teammates, friends, family, and even his medical team, he was able to keep fighting and eventually reached to the stage where he could be able to physically practice baseball again. He thought to himself, “I’m really lucky to make it his far, huh? And it’s all thanks to Dr. Wallace”.

Just as he thought thought this Dr. Wallace walked in. The doctor smiled, “How are you Philip? I got great news for you; as soon as you finish this week’s analysis scans you’ll be able to start the physical therapy and maybe even get to be with your field practices.”

“Well…”, Philip replied, “I don’t mind, I’ll do anything for baseball. Also, I trust you”

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