Devin Martz

Meet the 2017 Courage Ride Patient Honoree

By Lindsay Martz, Devin's Mom

In May of 2016, 10 year-old Devin Martz was diagnosed with osteosarcoma cancer in his left leg after being seen for what his family initially thought was a knee injury from playing football. This is where Devin's sarcoma story begins.

We were all playing football in the backyard and Devin twisted his knee. We didn't think too much of it, but a couple weeks later Devin started complaining that his knee hurt again. I told him it was probably growing pains, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought perhaps he had injured his knee that day playing football and it had not healed. I told him if it continued to bother him to let me know, and I'd make him a doctor appointment. Around the middle or end of May, he said that he wanted to make a doctor appointment, but we were not able to get in until June 6th. I told him we would wait until that appointment but if it hurt anymore, to where he wanted to go sooner, we would go to urgent care. On June 3rd he came into our room crying, telling us that it hurt very badly. A few hours later we took him to urgent care, where they did some X-rays and told us it could be a torn meniscus, torn ligament, or possibly a tumor. I was so mad! I thought why was this lady coming in here and saying this to me in front of my ten-year-old son, not knowing for sure what is wrong?

I got a copy of the x-rays and followed up on our June 6th appointment with our regular doctor. She looked at the x-rays and had someone else go over them as well. They agreed there was something that could be causing pain, so they ordered a MRI for the following Thursday. I got a call-back on Friday afternoon. We were asked if Jeff and I could come with Devin to go over the results. We get there and they start asking if he's had fevers, easy bruising, been more tired, and so on. I started to piece everything together and what exactly they were thinking was wrong. After that appointment we were set up to see Dr. Ben Miller at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The day we met with Dr. Miller he informed us he believed it was one of two things: Ewing’s Sarcoma or osteosarcoma. Devin went in for a biopsy of his knee the following day - June 13. He was told upon going in to the operating room that if he woke up with a port that it meant the biopsy came back as cancerous.  

My 10-year-old woke up with a port in his chest and was forced to face a long but courageous battle with osteosarcoma cancer. Devin had several chemo admissions, fever admissions, blood transfusions, and so many other procedures no child should have to go through. But he did it! He did it well and he did it while somehow maintaining a lot of positivity and an abundant amount of strength from family, friends, and the community (see Facebook page Dab’n for Devin). Ultimately, Devin ended up having a left leg rotationplasty, a procedure where part of his leg was surgically removed, and then the bottom portion of the leg was rotated 180 degrees, then reattached so that his foot can serve as a knee joint. 

Among the many challenges Devin has had to face is learning how to walk all over again. This has been such a big process. He is still mastering how to walk, but every day he gets more and more confident with each step. It's nice to see how far he has come and we cannot wait to see him do the same things he was able to do before his diagnosis: skateboarding, biking, running and swimming.  Devin wants to be able to do the things that his brother and his peers are doing with no problems. With Devin's determination we are confident these setbacks are only temporary and he will not let cancer define him negatively but will instead give him the fuel he needs to make it as far as possible in life.