Mary’s Story

In the past Mary has suffered from a rare form of soft tissue cancer. She recalls the day that our Critical Care team came to her rescue whilst she was out walking her dogs.

I’m a 47-year-old housewife from Tadley in Hampshire. I have been unfortunate to have suffered from Sarcoma, a rare form of soft tissue cancer in the past, and as a result, I am no longer able to work. I was first diagnosed in 2008, which resulted in the removal of three of my quad muscles, followed by 36 daily sessions of radiotherapy. I recovered well and adjusted accordingly. Unfortunately, seven years almost to the day since my first diagnosis, my Sarcoma returned to the very top of my thigh. More surgery and radiotherapy followed. Again, I recovered well and carried on with my life. I was warned that one of the side effects to all the radiotherapy was that I was at a higher risk of fractures, but I was always extra careful and walked with two crutches.

Every day I walk my four dogs at Greenham Common and, although I walk with crutches, I am quite mobile, given what my leg has been through. Walking daily has helped me tremendously. New Year’s Eve 2017 was just like any other morning, the only difference being that my husband decided to walk the dogs with me – something he never normally does. We went to Greenham for our walk as usual, along with two friends and their dogs, who I walk with daily. We had a lovely walk and the dogs had a good run around. I rounded our dogs up and my two friends went off to round their own dogs up. I was standing with my husband and our dogs waiting for the others to come back when, out of nowhere, there was a loud odd noise and I fell to the floor with the worse pain I have ever felt in my leg; it felt like my leg had snapped in two. I now know that I had fractured my femur.

My husband called for an ambulance, which took around 25 minutes to arrive as they needed to get in through the locked gates. The two paramedics were amazing and explained everything whilst reassuring us both the entire time. But they quickly decided that it would be difficult, and extremely painful, to try and move me and transport me across the Common, due to the uneven ground. They put in another call and the Air Ambulance was able to attend. When they landed in the Common they introduced themselves and, although I can’t remember their names now, I can clearly remember seeing the paramedics and doctors in their red flight suits. I now have one of your teddies in a flight suit, which my daughter bought while I was in hospital. I don’t recall any of the journey due to the pain relief that I was given. My first ride in a helicopter and I don’t recall any of it!

Once in hospital I was assessed and x-rayed; I had fractured the very top of my femur. My leg was attached to some weights as I was told I needed an operation to insert a metal rod and nails. However, the operation couldn’t take place straight away as doctors needed to communicate with The Royal Marsden, who I am under for my Sarcoma. The operation was carried out successfully three days later and I now have a metal rod the length of my femur with two nails just above my knee and two nails at the very top.

My recovery is going to be a long one, made more difficult because of my history. My family and I are extremely grateful to everyone involved with the care and treatment I have been given.

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