TISSUE RECIPIENT RECOVERS FROM BONE TUMOR

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.

TIME ON THE PLAYGROUND HAS NEW MEANING THANKS TO BONE ALLOGRAFT

CAMPBELL
RECIPIENT OF: BONE ALLOGRAFT by AlloSource

When eight-year-old Campbell began complaining about arm pain, her mother took her to the doctor to find out the cause. Doctors discovered a large bone cyst in her arm and scheduled surgery to drain it. The unfortunate diagnosis forced her to stop swimming, playing basketball and enjoying time on the playground. Since Campbell is a very active child, time away from her favorite activities proved challenging.

Before Campbell could go in for surgery, she fell and broke her arm. Her doctor hoped the break might encourage the tissue to regenerate and prevent the need for surgery. However, after several months of waiting, they weren’t seeing any positive signs of healing. In November of 2014, Campbell’s doctor drained the bone cyst and filled the void with a bone allograft, tissue from a deceased human donor.

“The surgery worked well,” said Campbell’s mother, Pamela. “Her bone cyst is mostly gone and Campbell’s doctor gave her the green light to resume normal activities.” Campbell is now back on the playground, thanks in part to a generous tissue donor.

Campbell and her family are forever grateful to the donor, as well as the family and friends of the person who chose to donate tissue. The experience also reaffirmed her mother’s belief in organ and tissue donation.

“I hope that my daughter’s story will inspire people to consider donation,” said Pamela. “It is such a humane way to make the passing of another human into a lovely act of kindness. I’m grateful to the person who helped improve my daughter’s quality of life. She is a ray of sunshine in this world.”

TISSUE DONATION HELPS HEAL ACTIVE FATHER

BRENT, RECIPIENT OF: ALLOPAC® CORTICAL/CANCELLOUS CHIPS

A bulging disc and broken bone in his back kept Brent from participating in Boy Scouts of America events with his son, one of their favorite ways to spend time together.

The pain in his back and leg became so severe he could not stand or walk for longer than 10 – 20 minutes at a time. The constant pain took a toll on his life and it was difficult for Brent to serve as an assistant scoutmaster with his son’s Boy Scout troop. To ease his debilitating pain, Brent underwent a posterior lumbar spinal fusion. Doctors used AlloPac® cortical/cancellous chips in the procedure.

“I could tell as soon as I was able to get up and around that the surgery was successful because my pain was gone,” he said.

After Brent’s recovery, he has returned to all of the activities his injury prevented him from doing.

“The transplant has completely changed my daily life,” said Brent. “I am able to walk and stand for long lengths of time without pain. I have been able to go on campouts, extended summer camps and hikes that before I would never have been able to do because of the pain.” Brent is thankful for the donated bone that played a crucial role in his surgery and has helped him recover.

“I am grateful that someone was thoughtful enough to donate tissue so someone like me could have a chance to be able to do the things I thought I never would.”

When asked what he would say to his donor, if he could, Brent appreciates the gift of donation. “I would say thank you for being willing to donate and know that I am so very thankful to have had the chance to receive the donation that changed my way of life. Your unselfishness is overwhelming.”

TISSUE RECIPIENT FINDS STRENGTH ONCE MORE

KATRIN, RECIPIENT OF ACHILLES TENDON ALLOGRAFT

Katrin describes her injury as affecting her life in every way. The normally active athlete was playing soccer when her ACL partially tore. Not realizing the extent of the injury, Katrin continued to play sports despite the increasing pain.

“During my first surgery, a huge piece of my medial meniscus was removed and it turned out that my ACL was completely torn. Ten months later I had to have my ACL replaced in order to prevent further injuries to my knee,” said Katrin. It was before her second surgery when Katrin realized an achilles tendon from a deceased donor would be saving her knee.

Describing  herself as “flushed with drugs,” the impact of what the doctor told her didn’t settle in until later. While recovering, Katrin was focused on healing to the best of her ability. Though she describes the process as painful, this period also gave her time to reflect on her choice of using donated tissue. “I was thinking about this a lot when I made my decision to choose a tissue transplant from a deceased donor.

“I feel grateful that tissue transplants are available and that there are people who make the decision to become a donor,” Katrin said. Three weeks after surgery, Katrin began walking without crutches. Nine weeks after that, she was able to run again. “I feel very blessed to be able to continue my active lifestyle.

There is not one day when I exercise that I am not grateful for being able to do the things that my heart desires to do such as running in the morning and snowboarding on the weekends,” said Katrin. Because of the gift she received, Katrin is now an advocate for organ and tissue donaton.

“I am a registered donor and always strongly believed that this was how I could enhance and save many people’s lives when I am no longer here,” said Katrin. Though Katrin does not know the family of her donor, she often thinks of them and hopes they know what a tremendous gift they gave her.

“I know thank you is not nearly enough to show how grateful I am for their decision to donate. I want them to know that there is not one day when I start running in the morning that I do not think about how grateful I am to be able to live life to the fullest. So again, thank you.”