4 Your Health
Miraculous treatment lets Cedarburg woman get life back, plus dream wedding
CEDARBURG - 28-year-old Stacy Victor and her husband Jon Berg love the little moments--like standing in their kitchen in Cedarburg making dinner.
"It's nice. I think normal people would be in the kitchen making breakfast for dinner," Stacy exclaims.
Normal. It's something Stacy's life has been anything but over the last few years. It all started when she felt a pain shoot down her leg.
"Only had it for like a day, and then after that didn't get it again for another 6 months," Stacy recalls.
Stacy went to physical therapy, and eventually doctors found a tumor in her bone. In November 2010, Froedtert Orthopedic Surgeon Donald Hackbarth confirmed Stacy's worst fear: Bone cancer.
"Disbelief. I mean, you never think it'll happen to you, especially being so young," Stacy says.
Ewing's Sarcoma is rare, but when it appears, it's usually in younger people.
"It does strike them in the midst of a very active life," Dr. Hackbarth explains.
The diagnosis came shortly before Stacy and Jon were planning to get married. Jon adds, "You just get blind-sided by something like that, and yeah, everything just goes on hold."
They admit cancer tested their relationship at times.
"There was a good amount of time where I treated him pretty badly cuz I wasn't up to being around people," Stacy admits.
"She said something like, 'You can find somebody else if you wanted,' but I didn't want to," Jon says.
The couple went from wedding planning to fight mode.
"Ewing's Sarcoma can be deadly, and the immediacy of treatment, chemotherapy, has made it survivable," Dr. Hackbarth explains.
Dr. Hackbarth's first priority was kill the cancer. Amputation was a possibility. Stacy recalls, "I was saying, 'Don't take my leg!!'"
Luckily doctors were able to save Stacy's leg, and reconstructed her bone with metal prostheses.
The surgery was a success, and Stacy is slowly getting her life back--including her dream wedding in December! "The whole day flew by. The goal was to not use a cane that day. Walking down the aisle I had my dad on my arm, walking up the aisle I had John on my arm."
The recovery continues, as Stacy now walks with a limp, but she knows things could be much worse.
"Thankful would be a really good term to describe this. I mean I still have my life, I still have my leg," Stacy says.
Stacy's prognosis is good, and all of her follow-up scans have been clean. Doctors will continue to monitor her regularly for a few years, and she may also have some follow-up surgery on her leg.