Australian mother suffers devastating life-or-death decision after ‘gym injury’

An Australian mother was left devastated when she discovered that the pain in her leg was not caused by a suspected gym injury, but by a rare and aggressive form of cancer, forcing her to make a heartbreaking decision.

Bec Macnamara, 36, is a mother of three and was an avid member of a CrossFit gym in Port Kennedy, WA. When she went to see a physical therapist, she was experiencing intermittent knee pain. She suspected she had injured herself during a session.

But as the months passed, the pain only got worse and in April an MRI scan of her thigh revealed an abnormality in the bone that turned out to be a histiocytic sarcoma.

The condition is so rare that Macnamara told Yahoo even doctors weren’t sure how best to treat her cancer. One thing was certain, though: Her left leg would have to be amputated to survive the cancer.

Fit and healthy Bec Macnamara was a member of a CrossFit gym, where she suspected the 'injury' occurred. Source: SuppliedFit and healthy Bec Macnamara was a member of a CrossFit gym, where she suspected the 'injury' occurred. Source: Supplied

Fit and healthy Bec Macnamara was a member of a CrossFit gym, where she suspected the ‘injury’ occurred. Source: Supplied

Macnamara, a single mother to Toby, Jasper (9) and Pippa (7), said hearing the news was “surreal” at first.

“It all happened so fast, it’s all a blur,” she told Yahoo. “I spent a fair amount of time trying to stay distracted with the kids and work until I had more information,” she said. As time went on, I got more and more information that was harder to ignore.

“It was quite scary because it is extremely rare and doctors had no answers as to what should happen. But my main thought was would I be able to see my children grow up and would I survive this?”

Initially, Macnamara was given options regarding the future of her leg – she could have chosen to skip the amputation and focus on chemotherapy first, but after her first round she turned over in bed and “heard a big bang”. It was her femur that had snapped.

She was forced to make a difficult decision: “It was either live with one leg or die with two,” she said. Last month she underwent the amputation surgery which was successful, with surgeons telling Macnamara that the tissue at the top of her leg, where the amputation was performed, was disease-free.

While the mother said it’s “comforting to know that most of the cancer is gone,” she still has a long road ahead of her with at least five more rounds of chemotherapy ahead of her.

“Chemo is not something you go through easily,” she admits.

In a remarkable act of kindness, Tony, the owner of the Crossfit Gym where Macnamara is a member, has set up a GoFundMe to support the single mother. At the time of publication, $18,000 had been donated.

“[The money has] come from all over, she said. “I was shocked to see the amount of donations that came in, people I haven’t spoken to in years or people I barely know donating money. I’m so grateful.”

Macnamara says the money will help her get through her treatment and recovery. The defiant mother says it is her children who are helping her through the difficult time. “I have to do as much as I can to make sure I am there for them,” she said.

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