Durban-based Yvonne Milan was diagnosed with osteoblastic osteosarcoma in her right tibia, in the January of 2010.
She consulted doctor after doctor, several in fact, but medical opinions concurred; Yvonne would need to have her leg amputated, and she was scheduled to begin chemotherapy in March 2010.
When her oncologist suggested that she consider “limb saving” or “limb sparing” surgery, Yvonne considered that of the two options, this seemed the least drastic, and far more preferable.
“Well, my leg was going to be chopped off, so I agreed,” she said.
During limb sparing surgery, the cancerous tissue is removed and the oncological orthopaedic surgeon replaces the diseased bone with a prosthesis or bone graft. After her surgery, Yvonne’s 35 year employment history at a financial institution ended with her becoming medically boarded.
“I was told that I would not be able to walk again and would be confined to a wheelchair. But instead I do have the use of my leg and can walk and have more time to concentrate on my church work. My life is 99% back to normal.”
Yvonne, now 60 years old, is able to enjoy spending time with her retired husband, both adult daughters and her two young grandsons — both of whom were born after her successful “limb sparing” surgery. She is also very actively involved in her church activities, which is something that gives her great satisfaction.
Her plea to members of the public is that they consider registering as donors. “If I did not have the option to have such an operation, I would have been wheelchair-bound,” she said. “My self-esteem has been restored.”
Yvonne comprehends the value in becoming an organ and tissue donor and how this can completely change someone’s life for the better.