'The other choice was amputation below the knee'
Rugby and running are a thing of the past for Adrian Smith, but he feels lucky to be alive. He has had about half the bone removed from his left foot and could, in later life, face having his leg amputated below the knee as result of bone cancer.
The 28-year-old was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in January 2010.
Adrian, a marketing manager, said: "I used to play rugby twice a week and after one game in December 2008, my foot was really hurting so I went to A & E at Leicester Royal Infirmary and it turned out I had a fracture in a metatarsal.
"I went back to rugby after about 10 weeks but I was still having problems with my foot and ankle, which would swell.
"It would swell up and go down again but I played on with it for about three or four months."
When the new season started in 2009 Adrian, from Thorpe Astley, decided to go and see his doctor.
After a series a different tests, an x-ray showed up abnormalities in the bone in Adrian's foot.
He said: "On the X-ray you could see bones in the metatarsal which were almost transparent – that was the cancer. I was a bit shocked and my parents were very upset.
"I had a bone biopsy which confirmed it, but also confirmed it had not spread."
An intensive round of specialist tests and scans were done and within about a fortnight of diagnosis Adrian began the first of six cycles of chemotherapy, spending five days in hospital every three weeks.
He then had to have surgery to remove much of the bone from the front of his foot back to his ankle.
Adrian said: "The other choice was to have a below-the-knee amputation.
"I do now have more of a stump of a foot and in future I may even need the amputation because my foot is very weak, but I am hoping it will last for 20 years. It could even last the rest of my life."
More chemotherapy followed the surgery.
Adrian said: "I can't play rugby or run any more, and I do hobble about, but when you have been in hospital and seen some of the kids there with cancer you realise how lucky you are.
"I had a good 25 years of life before this and can still go out with my mates, play computer games and do things which so many other people can't."
Adrian has now been in remission since May 2011 and is back at work.
He is now helping to raise awareness of the condition and what faces patients like him.
Adrian said: "One of the best things will be the opening of the new teenage and young people's ward at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
"I was treated on a 'normal' cancer ward and found it quite hard. Seeing people in stages of palliative care was difficult."
Adrian's story is also due to be published on the Bone Cancer Research Trust website.