When Cebrina went to see her doctor for ongoing foot pain, she never imagined that her doctor would diagnose her with a rare bone disorder. A bone scan revealed a four-inch tumor in Cebrina’s femur. Her diagnosis was Fibrous Dysplasia, an uncommon bone disease that causes bone pain, deformities and fractures. It can go unnoticed for years and can eventually cause bones to bow or fracture. Her foot pain was unrelated to the Fibrous Dysplasia, but if not for the bone scan, the tumor in her leg could have continued to grow until it caused a bone fracture.
Cebrina’s tumor had likely been growing for many years. Cebrina’s doctor told her the tumor, though benign, was changing the shape of her femur and needed to be removed. After removing the tumor, her surgeon used cortical and cancellous chips, types of bone allografts, to fill the void in her femur. Bone allografts are created from tissue provided by generous donors who have passed away.
“You take your health for granted until something like this happens,” she said. “As I’m healing and getting better, I’m so appreciative of what I have.” After surgery, Cebrina used crutches and eventually a cane to help her walk. She was determined to stay active and walked her dog along their usual route, even though it took two hours instead of one. Through exercise and physical therapy, she eased back into her normal routine. Three weeks after surgery, Cebrina returned for half days to her busy job as the Audio Visual Administrative Assistant and Production Assistant for the Illinois Farm Bureau.
Cebrina reflected on receiving donated tissue during her procedure, and said that following surgery she double-checked her own donor status. “I figured that someone gave to me and I want to pay that back someday,” she said. Cebrina gauges her improvement by how long her walking route takes her, and she is happy to report her route is back to one hour. Her family encouraged her throughout the recovery process and bought her a stationary bike, so she could stay active. She is thankful for her health and for the donor who helped make her recovery possible.