14-Year-Old Mia Lloyd: 'Living With a Disability Has Not Held Me Back'
Mia Lloyd enjoyed living an active, sporty life at a young age. However, she had to give it up for a while when she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, leading to an above-knee amputation on her left leg. In an article published on Wales Online, Lloyd recounted her journey.
Sports defined Lloyd's childhood. Beyond academics, she played football, swimming, golf, skiing, climbing, and athletics. But shortly after turning 10, she began to feel pain in her left knee. Lloyd would wake up in the middle of the night, feeling excruciating pain. Her family initially thought it was due to growing pains or a sports injury, which they tried to remedy with shoe insoles, rest, physiotherapy, and painkillers.
After a month of struggling, Lloyd's parents took her to consult with her doctor, who ordered an X-ray and other tests. The doctor then sent them to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, UK, for a biopsy. By this time, Lloyd's leg was in a brace, and she used crutches as she couldn't put any weight on her left leg.
A few weeks later, the biopsy results were released, confirming that Lloyd has osteosarcoma. The primary tumor was located above her left knee, where she had been feeling excruciating pain. Additional scans also showed that she had numerous metastasis in both lungs.
Lloyd underwent chemotherapy at Noah's Ark Children's Hospital in Cardiff, UK. The treatment was harsh on Lloyd. She experienced all the possible side effects, including mouth sores, sickness, blood clotting, and weight loss. She also lost her long hair.
Despite everything that was happening, Lloyd mentioned that she felt assured that all the doctors, consultants, and nurses were doing their best to help her feel better. The staff took some time to explain every procedure to her, which made her feel at ease.
After 10 weeks of treatment, scans showed that Lloyd's primary tumor responded to the chemotherapy. However, she still needed to decide between a limb salvage or an above-knee amputation. Lloyd asked her surgeon what the best option was if she wanted to go back to sports. After many discussions, Lloyd felt more confident with opting for an amputation. She knew that she could get a running blade and get back to sports.
To get more answers, Lloyd and her parents visited the Artificial Limb & Appliance Center (ALAC) in Morriston, Swansea, UK, where she now receives all her prosthetic care. The visit helped her go through the amputation surgery calmly and ready a few weeks later. She knew that with the help of the ALAC prosthetic team, she would be able to return to sports again.
After the successful operation, Lloyd dealt with phantom pains for a few weeks, which diminished with medication. After eight weeks, she was walking on her first prosthetic limb. Then she completed the following four months of chemotherapy to clear the remaining metastasis in her lungs. Lloyd has had no evidence of cancer since February 2018.
Although she admits that life after cancer can be difficult, Lloyd pushes through by viewing the hardships as a challenge. She thrived on learning to walk and run on her numerous prosthetic legs.
Lloyd is back to doing what she loves. She's a pathway athlete with Disability Sport Wales. More than one year after her amputation, Lloyd competed with the Welsh Under 14s National Wheelchair Basketball team. And four months later, Lloyd was recognized at the BBC Wales Sport Awards as Most Inspiring Young Person.
Lloyd is also now an ambassador for The Noah's Ark Children's Hospital Charity's Bone Cancer Research, the same community that helped raise money for her treatments. Whenever possible, she raises awareness of bone cancer.Lloyd continues to share her story with others while doing her best to stay positive. Life with a disability has not held her back in any way, and she wants to encourage others that it's still possible to work towards their dreams. They only need to take a different path to get there.