For weeks, frontline nurse Sette Buenaventura ignored the pain in her legs to focus on the care of her coronavirus. However, doctors eventually discovered a lump, and now, her leg has been amputated.
Buenaventura, a 26-year-old nurse at Royal Salford Hospital in Greater Manchester, told BBC News that she had bypassed cramping in her right calf for two months while working on the front lines of the virus. The pain makes walking difficult, but Buenaventura says it was just a side effect of long periods of time sitting in the hospital.
“We’re there for hours helping anyone who needs us, I really feel that level of commitment,”; she told the BBC. “It’s like working in the hospital – you forget about your own pain of helping others, which I love to do. But, everything comes at a cost.”
The UK is one of the global hotspots for the virus, with more than 310,000 confirmed cases and more than 46,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
When she could no longer ignore the pain, Buenaventura conducted a leg scan in April, finding a sarcoma tumor. She was told that the cancer had been swollen as big as a “golf ball”.
In May, doctors said her only chance of survival was amputation.
“When they told me I had to amputate my leg, I was so sad, but since I didn’t have time to think about it, I just went on with it,” she said. “I love to take care of myself and try my best to stay healthy. I work in the healthcare industry and never want this to happen to me.”
Since the operation, Buenaventura has been fitted with prosthetics. She hopes to return to work in November.
She urged everyone to learn from their mistakes and take their pain seriously.
“I think it’s really important for anyone with prolonged pain to get tested,” she said. “If I had grasped this earlier, maybe I would be in a different position now.”