Multiple Cancer Survivor Documents Her Journey In Blog


“ You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” -Max Ehrmann

Catalina Ritzinger was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma and Leukemia. She has successfully defeated her diseases. She is a fighter and writes about her life in her blog.

The Diagnosis

Ewings Sarcoma -August, 8, 2008

Leukemia- February, 26, 2010

The Journey

“When I was 15, I have diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma. I was in my modern dance class when my femur snapped. I had been having pains for a year and multiple misdiagnoses before my tumor finally broke. I had 8 rounds of chemo and then I had the resection surgery. The doctor took out my femur and 60% of the surrounding muscle to make sure he cleared the margins for any leftover cancer cells. After the surgery, I was tested and we had determined that there was no evidence of disease left.

However, since there is limited research for childhood cancer (especially Ewing’s) the doctors continued with 8 more rounds of chemo. All the research had shown that with that amount of chemo it was least likely to return. I made it through the second half of vigorous treatment and made it to my final chemo celebration. I spent the next year rehabilitating and trying to catch up in high school. At the beginning of February 2010, I was packing my bags with my family to go on my Make-A-Wish trip to New York Fashion Week.

I had the most magical time, I go saw shows for Michelle Smith, Tracy Reese, Vera Wang, Betsey Johnson, Gwen Stefani and my favorite, Naeem Kahn. Although New York was the most amazing experience, the entire time I was fighting a miserable cold. Two days after my return from NYC, I was diagnosed with Leukemia, due to too much chemo from the Ewings. I started treatment on the day of my diagnosis. After three months of chemo, I had found a very generous bone marrow donor for my bone marrow transplant.

She is a selfless, kind, woman from a small town in Germany. On the June 10th, 2011, I received my bone marrow transplant. On June 11th, 2011 I graduated from high school via Skype. In two days I had a lifesaving treatment and accomplished one of my only goals during all of my medical battles. There are so many more complications and side effects that I didn’t even begin to mention. Most people don’t realize that cancer is so horrible not because of actual cancer, but because of the chemo and the unimaginable side effects. Every day you are pumping poison straight into a central line that goes directly to your heart. It’s jarring to think that you are healing yourself while killing all your cells. There is just too much information and way too many details for this long paragraph to do my story any justice.”

Motivation to fight cancer

“My main and only motivation to fight was my family. I fought for my parents who didn’t leave me out of their sight. I fought for my two younger sisters who lost their childhoods being passed from neighbour to neighbour so my parents could be there with me the whole time. I fought for the possibility to one day have a family of my own.”

Biggest hindrance

“I cannot even begin to list them all. I have had so many side effects and surgeries and V.O.D and two bouts of graph versus host disease. I have extreme osteoporosis and osteonecrosis that have caused me to have several joint replacements. I also now have ovarian failure and cannot have children.”

Message to other cancer patients

“My message to fellow cancer patients would be: Allow yourself to feel all of your feelings. We are so often told to be positive and to ignore our feelings of anger or sadness because “Being positive is half the battle!” If you don’t want to grin and bear it, then don’t. Your feelings are valid and you need to feel them in order to heal.”

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