Posted: 22nd March 2017
Nicole van Rooyen is a sparkling 15-year-old high school girl from Point High School in Mossel Bay. She is a top 10 academic achiever and sportswoman with sporting highlights that included regional athletics in high jump as well as hockey.
She sustained an ankle injury while playing hockey in April 2016. Originally the diagnosed was a sprained ankle. A month later it compounded to tendonitis and she was instructed to stay off her right foot. After about three weeks the ankle unfortunately worsened and started swelling severely and she was referred to the orthopaedic surgeon.
After studying the X-rays an urgent MRI was ordered and a "high grade" tumour was noticed in her calcaneus. Consequently a biopsy was done immediately. The diagnosis was Ewing Sarcoma. This is a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer that has a gruelling 52 week chemo protocol as well as surgery to remove the tumour.
Her progress was very good and we continue to hope that limb sparing surgery could be done to only replace the calcaneus. November the bad news came that the safest would be if they amputate her leg below her knee. This operation took place on 26th January 2017. Throughout this procedure Nicole kept her faith strong and her farewell message she wrote on her leg was:
Romans 8:18 "The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming."
Nicole is currently on her 22nd week of her chemo protocol and doing very well! Her positive attitude is truly inspirational.
Posted: 19th February 2018
A year for the rest of your life…
And so the battle with the beast ended in August 2017. It has been a long ride and feelings are overwhelming. Gratefulness, hope, relief, joy but also fear. It’s a complex set of emotions.
And so the new chapter begins…
Nicole passed her grade 10 home schooling exams in December 2017 with flying colours. She is looking forward to returning to main stream schooling in 2018 as soon as she is completely mobile. Physical therapy to learn how to walk on her prosthesis is progressing very well.
On the 8th of December she had her three month post treatment scans and was given the all clear. NED!!!
Although the effects of cancer still linger and she is still working on a new “normal”, Nicole is appreciating every moment that live brings. She is grateful for all the love and support that she and her family received and strives to be a source of encouragement to other fighters still fighting the fight.