Understanding Osteosarcoma Audiobook
Damon is an expert in managing his childhood cancer, osteosarcoma (bone cancer), but his sister Dara is scared and confused. The Medikidz help him explain what cancer does to the body, cancer treatment and how to support him in this audiobook version of our award-winning comic book Understanding Osteosarcoma.
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Rebecca: Hi there and welcome to a special audiobook installment of Jumo’s In My Words Podcast series.
At Jumo, we produce everything from comic books that explain difficult medical conditions, to videos where families share practical insight and their stories of hope. Learning how to manage life after a diagnosis can be stressful and confusing, and we aim to make that a little easier. From epilepsy and Crohn’s disease to fractures, MRIs, and lots in between, we’ve got you covered.
OK - today’s story comes from our Understanding Osteosarcoma comic book. Damon is an expert when it comes to his specific type of cancer, osteosarcoma. But his sister Dara - not so much. She’s scared and confused about what’s going on with her brother. Luckily, Damon and his pals, the Medikidz, are here to explain.
Dara: You’ll never get away with this!
Stephen: Mwahahahah! Of course I will! No one can stop me. Not even...American Boy!
Damon: Let her go, Black Gloves! It’s over.
Dara: My hero!
And here’s the thing Diary, when I say my brother Damon is my hero, I don’t just mean when we play pretend, I mean in real life.
A while ago, Damon got diagnosed with some sort of cancer that I can’t pronounce, let alone spell!
Damon: Come on, you guys, move those feet!
Dara: And even though the cancer took his arm, he’s still so happy! Always making me and our brother Stephen laugh and have fun.
He has to go to the doctor’s and take all these tests and medicines and he never complains, but I’m scared for him!
I dunno diary, I just wish I understood what was wrong with Damon.
Huh? Mom said if I ate ice cream before bed I’d have trouble sleeping. She didn’t say I’d disappear.
Whoa, where am I?
Damon? What is going on?
Damon: Hey, sis! I heard you say you needed some help understanding my disease, and I knew just the people to call...the Medikidz!
Pump: We know you must have a ton of questions about your brother’s osteosarcoma, and if you let us, we’ll help you understand it. Are you in?
Abacus: Osteosarcoma is pronounced os-tee-oh-sar-ko-muh.
Dara: Well, you already helped me learn to pronounce it so-- yeah, I’m in!
Where are we heading?
Gastro: To Mediland! It’s a planet that works and looks just like the human body.
Skindy: Osteosarcoma is a rare type of cancer that starts in your bones, so that’s where we’ll head first.
Pump: Initiating teleportation now.
Narrator: On a bone….
Dara: I’m on a giant bone?! If I had my phone I’d so instagram this.
Chi: Bones form the frame that supports your body. They have other roles too!
Damon: Bones are attached to your muscles to help you move.
Pump: Some of your bones, like your ribs and skull, protect your organs. sort of like armor, but inside your body.
Dara: Hey, I never thought of bones like that before. Bones are cool!
Gastro: Some of your bones are also factories for making new blood cells.
Dara: I don’t see any factories.
Axon: For that, we must go inside the bone. Shrink ray initiated.
Gastro: See, factory!
Dara: Whoa! This place is incredible.
Blood Cell 1: These blood cells look ready. Prepare to send them into the world.
Blood Cell 2: I am so tired of you telling me what to do. I quit! I’m going to tear this place apart.
Dara: Hey, guys, take it easy. Me and my brothers fight sometimes too. Everyone just needs to calm down.
Blood Cell 1: He doesn’t need to calm down, he needs to get real! How is one little cell going to tear this place up?! You’d need an army.
Oh--you brought an army. Okay then, I stand corrected.
Damon: Chi, what’s happening?
Chi: Osteosarcoma is happening! It’s when certain cells in your bones grow out of control, and form a lump called a tumor.
Dara: That came out of nowhere!
Damon: Just like what happened to me. One day I was just a kid, then suddenly I was a kid with cancer.
Abacus: Osteosarcoma can occur at any time and at any age, but it’s most common in children and young adults. Now, if you could please get this guy off me!
Blood Cell 2: Woo hoo! This is fun!
Skindy: Osteosarcoma in adolescents usually happens in bones that are rapidly growing, like the bones in your legs or arms.
Ugh, these guys are everywhere!
Blood Cell 2: This place is boring, let’s go check out the rest of the body.
Chi: In some people, cancer cells leave the bone and travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, like the lungs.
Pump: Speaking of leaving, we better get out of here!
Axon: Activating teleporter now!
Dara: Okay, so we saw what was going on because we were inside the bones, but how do doctors know what’s going on?
Gastro: Well, it all starts with symptoms. The most common symptom is bone pain.
Abacus: You might have swelling over the bone too.
Damon: I didn’t have any pain to start with. Mom just gave me a hug and felt something weird in my arm! I guess that was the bone swelling.
Axon: Most people think they are having growing pains and ignore the pain for weeks or months before they see a doctor.
Chi: But the sooner you see the doctor, the better.
Damon: Oh yeah, my doctor started by asking a lot of questions about how I was feeling. He used my symptoms like clues to figure out what kind of tests I needed.
Axon: Exactly! Preparing to run tests on Mediland now.
Your doctor will want to look closely at your bones. To do this, you will have an x-ray.
Skindy: You might have other imaging tests, like an MRI or a CT scan.
Pump: You might also have tests that look at your blood.
Skindy: If the doctors find your pain is caused by a tumor, you’ll have a biopsy.
This is when a surgeon removes a small piece of your bone, usually using a needle.
Damon: So that’s a piece of bone from Mediland? Seriously cool.
Skindy: A type of doctor called a pathologist will look for cancer cells in the small piece of bone using a microscope.
Computer, activate microscopic glass.
Dara: Whoa! Well, there they are! But, what can we do about them?
Damon: That’s where treatment comes in!
Pump: You ready to give cancer a little payback?
Dara: More than ready!
Chi: Doctors usually start treatment as soon as possible to stop the cancer from growing and spreading to other parts of your body.
Pump: Which is why it’s important we get back to Mediland on the double.
Damon: Medikidz, let’s treat!
Narrator: Back in the bones...
Dara: Whoa, this place is overrun! How can we stop them?
Axon: Most people with osteosarcoma will be treated with chemotherapy and surgery.
Skindy: Chemotherapy uses drugs that go into your bloodstream and then travel everywhere in your body to kill the cancer cells.
Bad Blood Cell: Aaaarrgh!
Pump: Surgery is needed to remove the tumor from the body.
Narrator: Some tumors can be removed safely while sparing the limb.
Sometimes, an amputation might be needed. This means that to safely remove the tumor, the entire limb is removed.
Chi: Chemotherapy is usually given before surgery and then again after surgery.
Bad Blood Cell: Today is the worst.
Abacus: Chemotherapy can have side effects, like making you feel sick and losing your appetite
You might get bruises, sores in your mouth, or lose your hair.
Chi: Most side effects of chemotherapy go away after you finish your treatment.
Skindy: With surgery and chemotherapy, many people with osteosarcoma can be cured.
Blood Cell 1: They did it!
Blood Cell 3: Yay!
Blood Cell 4: The nasty cells are gone!
Blood Cell 5: Woo hoo!
Pump: Our work here is done, team. Axon, get us home.
Damon: I’ve got to say, that was pretty awesome.
Gastro: Totally, but treatment can take its toll, so when it’s done you might need physical therapy to help you recover
from the surgery...
Axon: ...and you’ll need to go back for regular check-ups.
Chi: It can be really scary when a doctor tells you that you have cancer.
Dara: I remember when you came home and told us, I couldn’t believe it! I was so scared, but also kind of angry.
Damon: Yeah, I felt my heart stop when he told me! I would never have gotten through it without the love and support from you and the whole family, sis.
Dara: I learned so much today! Now I understand osteosarcoma and what you have been going through Damon.
Damon: And remember my motto: Never be scared. Never be afraid, Always be happy and you’ll get through it.
Axon: Indeed! And now, armed with knowledge and motivation we shall send you both back home. Teleporting now!
Damon: Now that you understand my Osteosarcoma, do you feel better?
Dara: I do, but do you know what would make me feel even better?
Damon: What’s that?
Dara: A hug from my hero! That I can do!
Damon: Come on guys, we’re all in this together!
Rebecca: Thanks for listening! We'll be adding new episodes all the time. We also take requests, so if you have a great topic, let us know! Who knows, we may even interview you! Visit us at JumoHealth.com.
In My Words is produced in New York City and distributed worldwide.
In My Words - A Jumo production.