Coronavirus Nurse Has Leg Amputated After Ignoring Pain While Working On Frontline
Sette Buenaventura, 26, from Manchester, was working on the coronavirus frontline when she noticed a throbbing pain in her leg.
Working overtime during the pandemic, she shrugged it off as cramp and tried to ignore it.
But when the pain became so intense she struggled to walk, Sette realised it needed investigating. And when the tests came back, it was revealed that the model and nurse had a sarcoma in her right leg.
Sette was diagnosed with a malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumour and was devastated as doctors explained the only way to save her would be to amputate.
"When they told me I had to have one my legs removed I got very upset, but because I had no time to think about it I just got on with it knowing that I didn't have a choice," Sette explained.
"I was so upset, I like to look after myself and try my best to be healthy, I work in healthcare and never expected this to happen to me.
"I can't look in the mirror now and I don't want to because it's too much to acknowledge that what I'm seeing in the mirror is the new me."
Sette was initially told she would need surgery and be left with a scar, but in a short space of time, the lump doubled in size.
"They told me that the only way they could save my life was to remove my leg from the top of my knee. It was a horrible feeling, but it all happened so fast that I didn't really have time to process what was going on," she continued.
"I was diagnosed in April and my leg was gone by May. There was just no time to worry about it, I just had to take in what they were saying."
Sette initially assumed the pain - which she had been experiencing for eight weeks before she went to see a doctor - was a result of standing on her feet for gruelling 12 hour shifts.
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"When COVID-19 kicked off we worked flat out, we didn't have time to worry about aches and pains, we were there every hour to help anyone who needed us, I got a real taste for that level of commitment," she said.
"That is what working in hospitals is like, you forget about your own pains because you're busy helping other people, which I love to do, but everything comes at a cost.
"Obviously it has been a lot busier this year and but I don't think it's the direct cause of what has happened to me, it just may have helped it along in the months leading up to the increased pain, and although I couldn't be there with my colleagues for the whole fight I'm so proud of all of them for keeping going."
Sette is now urging anyone experiencing lingering pain to have it checked out ASAP.
"I think it's really important for anyone with a lingering pain to go and get it checked out. If I had caught this sooner, I would probably be in a different position now," she said.
Now cancer free, Sette is focusing on her rehabilitation and hopes to be back saving lives in November.
"When it is happening, you don't focus on how it looks, you just think about the pain and dealing with it but now I'm worried for the future," she added.
"I'm anxious about how I'm treated, I don't want to be treated differently or taken pity on, I hate people thinking that I need help all the time.
"I tried to go out now and again after with my partner and friends and there were just lots of looks and people staring, which was too overwhelming. In the end I had to go home because the attention was too much.
"Even when I'm speaking to people, I can tell they are trying to be overly helpful and I understand why but I wish they wouldn't.
"A really difficult part of it is all the help I need, if I have a bath or a shower, my boyfriend will have to come with me because it's dangerous to be in there on my own on crutches.
"He doesn't dwell on the bad things and that helps me deal with it. We both have the belief that we'll get through whatever we need to.
"Although I won't let this get in the way of my life goals, I feel like now that it has happened I should at least try to help stop it from occurring in other people like myself.
"It's not the end of the world, but is all new to me, and I'm glad I have such great support from family and friends to help me get through this - and hope to help other people going through the same thing."
Featured Image Credit: Caters News