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A brave young mother recently shared the story of how she decided to have her leg amputated in order to save her unborn baby. 

In 2020, Kathleen Osborne was just 28 years old when she found out her bone cancer had returned for a third time. After discovering a lump on her right leg, Osbourne scheduled an MRI to see what was going on. When she went for her MRI scan, she was surprised to find out that not only had her cancer returned, but she also found out that she was four months pregnant with her third child. 

Upon learning this, the doctors gave her two options. They wanted her to either abort her baby so she could start chemotherapy, or she could have her leg amputated to stop the cancer from spreading. It took Osborne only one night to make her life-changing decision and at four months pregnant she had her leg amputated.

However, tragically, eight weeks before the birth of her daughter, another MRI scan revealed the cancer on her lungs had returned and was declared terminal. 

Osborne’s battle with cancer started in 2005 when she was just 11 years old, after a painful lump on her right leg turned out to be osteosarcoma. She had chemotherapy for the bone cancer and had most of her kneecap removed as well as having two metal rods inserted into her leg. 

She was then clear of cancer for 11 years and welcomed two sons, Hayden and Leo four years apart before she discovered that the cancer had returned in 2016, this time on her lungs.

According to DailyMail, she stated, 

“About three or four months after I had my second son [Leo], I had pain all down my side and I couldn’t move, I was bent over in pain. I had a scan after the doctors found fluid on my lungs and that’s where they saw this big mass on my lung which they couldn’t biopsy as it was touching vital organs. It turned out the cancer was back, and within a week, I was back in hospital for chemo.”

She also added that, “’Childhood cancer usually comes back within two or three years, but mine came back after 11. It was really rare, it’s not often they see that so they had to act quickly.” Thankfully, the chemotherapy managed to shrink the cancer on Osborne’s lung and doctors only had to remove the lower lobe of her lung.

In March 2017, she went into remission, but just three and a half years later, another painful lump on the top of her right leg appeared that left her almost unable to walk. “That’s how I found out I was pregnant. I had no idea!”, exclaimed Osborne

“It was really scary because then I immediately thought I was going to lose my baby. I’d only just found out about her and then I thought I was going to lose her.”

She details the events that took place stating, “The doctors gave me two choices. They said I could either terminate my baby, have chemotherapy, have an operation and most likely lose my leg, or keep my baby and have my leg amputated straight away. They gave me a week to make the decision and told me the sooner I had the surgery, the better.”

“I thought I’d rather choose to keep my baby and lose my leg. I was probably going to lose my leg anyway so I might as well lose it now and keep my baby.” 

She adds, “I told the doctors the very next day, I said book it in and just do it. There was no point in me having too long to think about it because it would scare me even more.”

Just ten days after making one of the most difficult decisions of her life, Osborne underwent surgery on November 17, 2020 to have her entire right leg amputated from her pelvis downwards. 

The amputation took away the cancer and Osborne spent the rest of her pregnancy adjusting to life with just one leg. Sadly, she still had to give birth eight weeks early after an MRI scan revealed the cancer on her lungs had returned.

“They only gave me two days to prepare for giving birth to her. I thought I had eight weeks and then suddenly I only had two days which was scary! I was scared I was going to lose her because I was having her so early. I was worrying about how well she’d be and how big she’d be. Those two days were awful. All these things were running through my head about her and then about me being diagnosed with cancer for the fourth time as well.”

Thankfully, Osborne’s daughter Aida-May was born a healthy and happy little girl via a c-section on March 12, 2020.

With Osborne’s fourth cancer now declared inoperable and terminal, she’s now doing all she can to make memories with her three kids whilst undergoing chemotherapy to give her more time with them.

“My focus is just doing as much with my kids as possible. It’s just them, I don’t really care about my dreams any more. As long as they have memories with me and they have as much fun with me as possible over however long we’ve got, then I’m happy. I can go then, as long as they’re happy.”

Despite her terminal diagnosis, Osborne said she does not regret amputating her leg. She explained, “I’m happy I made the decision to lose my leg because it gave me my daughter. If I’d not had my leg amputated then, I’d have lost her and I’d have been going through chemotherapy which might not even have saved my leg in the end anyway.”

She added, “I wouldn’t have her if I didn’t do it so it’s all been worth it. I’d always wanted a little girl after having my two boys first and now she’s here so I’m happy I did it. They’d also always wanted a sister so it’s worked out for the best, to be honest. I’m still very happy with my decision.”

Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.