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    "One Week Before Amputation," This Woman Counted Down Her Journey To Being Cancer-Free While Inspiring Others With Her Story

    "By smiling through the hard time I’m going through, I've inspired them — which is crazy to me!"

    "One week before amputation," Emily Cox's countdown began. Then, for the next seven days, she posed in front of her bedroom mirror with one leg forward, displaying her pointed toes.

    @embomcox

    50% off pedis let’s gooooo #cancersurvivor

    ♬ original sound - lmao

    "Five days before amputation," the series of clips reads; then three days, then one — then three hours, one hour, and finally, back home and in front of her mirror, she stands on one leg.

    Over 39.4 million people have viewed Emily's now-viral video of her amputation countdown, which she jokingly captioned, "50% off pedis, let's gooooo." And now, only about three weeks post-op, the 24-year-old is inspiring other young — and old — cancer patients and their loved ones with her story.

    TikTok: @embomcox / Via tiktok.com

    "I was originally diagnosed with osteosarcoma, bone cancer, in 2019 after a big hike in Whistler, BC," Emily told BuzzFeed. "I had a ton of pain [in my knee] and needed to go to the emergency room. [Doctors] took an X-ray of my knee and they could tell right away that it was bone cancer. From then on, my life was flipped upside and filled with appointments, fertility treatments, etc."

    TikTok: @embomcox / Via tiktok.com

    According to the American Cancer Society, osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer and usually starts in areas of the body where the bone is growing quickly, such as near the ends of legs, arms, or around the knee. Though it can develop at any age, cases are most often found in children, teens, and young adults like Emily, and the cancer is apt to spread from its original location to other areas in the body, making both treatment and recovery difficult.

    Currently, there is no known cause for osteosarcoma.

    After the initial discovery, Emily underwent 10 rounds of chemotherapy and had the bottom half of her femur and knee joint replaced — an operation known as limb salvage surgery. Afterword, she was declared cancer-free for two years, until a follow-up X-ray revealed her cancer had returned, and this time it took the aggressive form of a high-grade osteosarcoma, which are defined by their quick growth and spread.

    Emily's viral video led us to her hip disarticulation surgery, a removal of the entire leg through the hip joint, which was presented to her as a final measure and the best chance at survival.

    "My heart absolutely broke at first, it was really difficult to accept that amputation was my only option," she said. "I had started doing research and reaching out to people who had this surgery before, and that’s what really helped normalize the thought of having this serious surgery. I still have my moments, but I know this was my only option for good reason, it was the surgery that would save my life."

    TikTok: @embomcox / Via tiktok.com

    Besides general well wishes — of which there are many — Emily's comment section is filled with viewers who are inspired by her story, strength, and open book attitude. Up to about 1,000 new cases of osteosarcoma are diagnosed every year in the US, and about 1,806,590 cases of cancer in general are expected to develop, leaving those affected in need of hopeful stories just like Emily's.

    One person said "I'm in awe of your bravery and strength. Not easy and will take time to adjust but a group of strangers here think you're strong Sending xoxoxoxo"
    TikTok: @embomcox / Via tiktok.com

    When considering why she's willing to share her story — even as she recovers from a surgery that took place a few short weeks ago — Emily said: "Sharing my story helps others; connecting with people who have gone through similar experiences is so nice because it can be really difficult to relate to others, but when you find someone that you can genuinely relate to, it’s extremely rewarding."

    One person said "You are strong! An an amputee since 20y, I want to tell you that if you need to talk about your insecurities, my door is open heart face emoji
    TikTok: @embomcox / Via tiktok.com

    "By sharing my story and showing people my story, it has really inspired others," she continued. "Being able to be strong throughout this journey of mine has been hard at times, but having the love and support I have going through this has been the key to pushing through the hardest parts of it all."

    TikTok: @embomcox / Via tiktok.com

    "After posting my video on TikTok, so many have reached out [about] family or friends or even themselves, [while saying they] have gone through the same thing...[and] that by smiling through the hard time I’m going through, [I've] inspired them — which is crazy to me!" she concluded.

    If you'd like to keep up with Emily and her journey, you can follow her on TikTok and Instagram.

    You can also donate to the American Cancer Society, which pledges to support patients through research and offers rides to treatments, lodging, and community support.