Laura’s Story: Her journey with Osteosarcoma

Two summers ago, Laura Goering was finishing up her summer job at a local landscape nursery and looking forward to her senior year at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul. That was when a persistent pain in her leg eventually became so severe that she went in to see her doctor. Within hours of seeing the x-ray, the family was sent to the University of Minnesota to meet with an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Clohisy. Doctors suspected it was an aggressive bone cancer. Further pathology reports confirmed their worst fear. On August 9, 2011 Laura was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer).

Laura was immediately scheduled to start chemotherapy treatment, and from August 2011 to April 2012 went through 18 rounds of chemotherapy, 4 blood transfusions and 4 surgeries.

After a 6-month remission, the osteosarcoma unfortunately returned in October 2012— this time in her spine, rib and hip bones. Laura has been receiving treatment at The Journey Clinic at the University of Minnesota since mid-October 2012, forcing her to take an extended break from her studies as a freshman at the University of Minnesota’s College of Science & Engineering.

After numerous surgeries she has had to use a wheelchair and crutches on and off for two years, and as a result of the chemotherapy Laura has had to sleep in great amounts, an activity that has resulted in her parents dubbing her their “Sleeping Beauty.” In the face of this disease, Laura has shown enormous bravery and patience.

“She has a positive energy, spirit and lots of friends. She’s a very determined student – straight A’s during high school. She uses that determination toward fighting her cancer” Mary says.

When she is able, Laura uses an iPad to Skype into her classes. A fellow student in her class would have the iPad positioned to the front of the room so Laura can see the teacher. Being able to Skype into her class has helped Laura feel ‘more normal’ as well as learning as much as she can about her illness. She has a friend who is in a pre-med program who has been a big help in helping Laura understand the medical part of her journey. “Nothing I can do about this, so I’ll do what I need to do to make it go away” Laura says.

UPDATE: It is with great sadness that we share the news that Laura Goering died peacefully on September 20th, 2014. Diagnosed with osteosarcoma on August 9th, 2011, Laura didn’t let cancer stop her from being a determined honor student, a source of strength against adversity and an inspiration to us all.