Soft Tissue Sarcoma Patient Story

Patricia B.

It felt like a pulled muscle in my left leg, and it seemed it was taking a long time to heal. My left foot sometimes fell asleep, and my hip hurt off and on. I was tired all the time, so eventually I went to the doctor.

I had an MRI, and the doctor told me I would need a biopsy. We live in near LaGrande, and he said I could pick Boise or Portland. My husband, Rob, had a good experience at OHSU, so we went there. Dr. James Hayden did a biopsy and said it looked like an aggressive tumor. Soft tissue sarcoma is a very rare cancer, but OHSU has specialists who know what to look for. I was scared, sad and anxious, but I put my faith in the doctors and my family to help me through it.

I had chemotherapy, surgery and radiation and stayed at OHSU for 40 days. Our kids ran our farm outside LaGrande with help from family down the road. After two years, the tumor came back in the same spot. This time, I had targeted radiation through tiny tubes. Now I see Dr. Hayden every eight months to monitor the tumor.

My team of doctors was amazing. They all worked together, right down to the technicians. I feel blessed that we decided to go to OHSU. When we got my biopsy results, Dr. Hayden said, “We’re going to knock you pretty flat, but we’re going to get you through this.’ I believed him wholeheartedly and hung onto that real tight. It has been five years, and I’m hopeful that I can dance at my children’s weddings and see my grandchildren.