Now I Can Grow to my Full Potential Height
An avid lacrosse player and active young boy, Marco was just nine years old when he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his right leg. The condition, osteosarcoma, often means patients lose the limb, an unimaginable thought for a child with his whole life ahead of him.
“You can’t believe it’s true, you think: how could this be?” remembers Angela, Marco’s mother. Marco was referred to orthopedic oncologist Dr. James C. Wittig, who currently serves as director, Sarcoma Division, at the John Theurer Cancer Center. Dr. Wittig replaced Marco’s right femur and knee joint with a titanium femur and a lengthening bar just behind, which would allow Marco’s leg to grow just like his other one. “After that first surgery, Marco would go to Dr. Wittig’s office every month or so and place his leg in a tubular machine, comprised of magnets, and this would lengthen the rod about 4 millimeters,” recalls Angela. But the family soon became concerned, as Marco was growing more than expected, and his artificial femur was no longer effective.
For Dr. Wittig to save my leg, allowing me to continue to grow, is a real blessing.