I was diagnosed with Ewings sarcoma at the age of 9. The only way to save my leg was to replace the infected area, my femur, all the way up to the knee with a metallic prosthetic replacement, which you can see here: http://i.imgur.com/XEfFVPV.jpg Or a close-up: http://i.imgur.com/Gvnsdp6.jpg

I've actually just had the prosthetic extended to my hip 3 days ago. I'm writing up this AMA in my hospital bed right now. I had to have it extended after I fell over and fractured the bone surrounding the previous prophetic. The only way to fix it was to replace the hip by extending the prosthetic.

Fracture here: http://i.imgur.com/6T2DkJG.jpg

Here is a comparison of my two legs, the operated leg usually looks a lot more skinny. It's still swollen from the operation: http://i.imgur.com/VGFm0aK.jpg The original scar went up to my thigh, you can see from the dressing how they extended it

Edit: Just got my discharge date, planned for the 5th of august! Thanks for the questions and lovely comments

Comments: 182 • Responses: 70  • Date: 

Sloth-Lord80 karma

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.

pelpeh48 karma

You're the first person to make this joke! /sarcasm

But I'll admit, it never gets old

routari40 karma

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.

pelpeh48 karma

Don't push it.

kirbaaaay16 karma

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.

pelpeh28 karma

It's old now

kirbaaaay25 karma

There! I was able to successfully age the joke. Experiment completed.

pelpeh29 karma

Give it a week or so, it'll be reborn

xSJat12x30 karma

You are now the most metal person alive. How cool is that?

pelpeh41 karma

It's an honor and a pride \m/. Ozzy's throne awaits me

T1mac12 karma

Will you ever be able to get through airport security without the TSA giving you a wrath of shit?

pelpeh22 karma

I expect the metal detectors to go off. And do the whole routine. If there's a language barrier, I just point at my leg. Usually just pat me down, swipe me, and let me through.

Only a few times I've had problems. I've even once had to go into a full body scanner.

It's happened once or twice where at the airport the metal detector doesn't go off at all. Not sure what that says about the security there...

garthunk8 karma


it says nothing about security. other studies have showed roughly a 50/50 rate of detection. greatly depends on a large number of factors, such as surrounding tissue density, sepcific makeup and composition of alloys used in the implant, location of the implant, etc. etc. etc.

i've had hardware in my left hip, femur, and ankle since i was 13, and rarely set off security scanners. however, there was a FYE store in a mall i used to go to as a teenager that would ALWAYS go off when i passed through, incoming or outgoing. it happened so consistently (and i bought so many CDs) that the employees got to know me by sight and would be ready to deactivate the alarm as soon as it went off. once it twice it only had time to make a half-hearted blip before the employees killed it.

pelpeh2 karma

But, how would it explain detectors going off in some airport but not others?

callmeRichard2 karma

What kind of metal is used? I have a huge as screw in my knew and some other hardware but it never sets off detectors and didn't get torn out of my body during my last MRI (different injury). I believe it's Titanium.

pelpeh2 karma

It's made out of titanium. I think it really depends on the extent of the metal inside to whether it sets of the detectors

Tequila_Se_lai11 karma

Dude, that's so metal.

pelpeh15 karma


L4cer88 karma

Hey, so my dad is a surgeon who specializes in this sort of procedure for patients facing amputation from cancer. Terry Fox was his inspiration to go into that field, and Terry will always be a hero to my father. My dad lives to help people like you reclaim their lives, and it's your bravery that makes him love going to work everyday. Stay strong, brother.

pelpeh5 karma

Well your dad is one the heros that I thank everyday. If it wasn't for people like your dad, I'd either be dead or without my left leg.

My surgeon has become such a close figure of mine. He took me out to a football game when I was about 10 years old and cares very much about me. The best kind of surgeon you can have. Not to mention a complete genius.

Is your dad's last name by any chance Briggs?

thereelperkins7 karma

Is there a noticeable difference in the weight of your leg with the implanted metal?

pelpeh7 karma

My "bag leg" actually weighs less; the muscles aren't as built up, and it's quite skinny. Definitely noticeable

Ignoring the weight change from the muscle, I think the weight of real bone and the metallic replacement isn't that far off; the prosthetic is skinnier, and has less surface area then what a real bone would, too.

thereelperkins7 karma

Oh right I bet the surgery took a bit of power out of your limb. I wish you a full recovery! Good luck at airport security;)

pelpeh4 karma

Thanks :)

Notorious-G-R-eeK6 karma

how much would the Adamantium option have cost?

pelpeh6 karma

A lot.

Faceplam5 karma

Do you look any different from 'normal' people?

Can you still do sports or are some things harder, ie swimming?

Hope everything works out fine and you aren't extremely bored in the hospital :)

(edit: I asked the question before op added the picture of his legs.)

pelpeh11 karma

Well my leg is a lot skinnier then normal. The muscles have been torn apart and had to be build up from square one. It's covered in scars and there's definitely no hiding it. But, if I'm wearing a pair of trousers, you couldn't tell the difference.

I've never really played sports, but I do love swimming and am a surprisingly good swimmer. I've tried my best not to let my leg limit me in many ways, and my surgeon is quite amazed and how much it hasn't. Obviously walking requires more effort, and sometimes if I've done a lot of activity I'll need to rest the leg for a few hours or a day

Thanks! I'll survive, I'm sure

main_hoon_na2 karma

Do you know if you'd be "allowed" or able to play sports, should you want to? Such as running, basketball, tennis, etc. (I'm trying to think of a wide variety but I'm blanking.)

pelpeh1 karma

There are certain sports that are advised against more then other. Rugby, for example would be a big no no, while football (Soccer) would be more okay. Thankfully I never was a sporty kinda guy anyway

Stoneman204 karma

Are hotdogs a sandwich?

pelpeh9 karma



An item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them, eaten as a light meal.

Yes. Yes they are.

psiondoodler1 karma

hold on there chief. hot dog buns are a single piece of a bread split open but not quite cut in two.

Also, how did your leg handle growing? Were they required to go in every few years and replace/extend the metal?

pelpeh1 karma

So, what about a baguette? They can be joined, but still make a great sandwich. LOGIC.

As for your second question; http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1j9qs7/i_am_a_20_year_old_with_an_entire_metallic_femur/cbcibx5

psiondoodler1 karma

You said two pieces of bread. You have built your own sandwhichy tomb.

EDIT: also, sorry I must have missed that one on the first run through.

pelpeh1 karma

Just because two things are connected by a thin line doesn't make it one thing. You wouldn't say conjoined twins are one person, would you now?

psiondoodler1 karma

Well to be fair, a hot dog bun isn't usually split more than about 2/3 of the way through. looking at it head on, its more U shaped than 2 pieces with a flap. And I might if they were doing the creepy twin trick where they finish each other's sentences. At that point they might as well be.

pelpeh1 karma

Twins are creepy, you're right about that.

However, Mr Psiondoodler, is it not true that some hotdog buns are not completely split? I've seem them in this fashion before.

Is it also not true that a baguette filled with ham, cheese, and salad can be considered a sandwich, even if the baguette is still intact?

somedud0 karma

Is cereal a soup?

pelpeh4 karma



A liquid dish, typically made by boiling meat, fish, or vegetables, etc., in stock or water.

Doesn't seem so, no.

Jacrjames3 karma

What things on the forbidden list do you do anyway? Do you have to take anti-rejection drugs?

pelpeh8 karma

Oh, at least half of the forbidden list must be broken by me. It said things like no long walks. Jumping up and down. (I'm into metal, and like to go to my gigs). Trampolining. Running. Quad-biking. Cycling for long periods of time. The list goes on. Thing is, the things on the list are not guaranteed to cause damage, they have just been believed and predicted to. I'm pretty careless when it comes to my leg in all honesty

I'm not quite sure what anti-rejection drugs are... I'm guessing they're drugs to prevent the body rejecting organs after transplant? I've never taken them, not that I know of anyway. I suspect it's different when it's bone replacement.

Faceplam3 karma

Anti-rejection drugs would be for your body not to fight the metal, but if you don't know about it the metal is probably titanium or some other metal that your body does not reject.

pelpeh6 karma

I do know that the prosthetic is titanium, or a mixture, the majority of it being titanium. As for the anti-rejection drugs, I'm really not sure. I was young when I had the treatment, so I could of had it.

explosivefajitas2 karma

Can you use these metallic bones to your advantage? In terms of kicking someones ass.

pelpeh3 karma

Don't think so. Kicking someones ass will probably hurt me more than them

PrSqorfdr2 karma

How good are these prosthetics? I mean, will they last your whole life, or do they have get replaced in 10 years.. and what are the limitations, will you be able to run around with them?

pelpeh5 karma

It's hard to say really. Every prosthetic has to ware out eventually, its just hard to predict when. It also depends on how the person works on it. The hardest thing after getting something like this is working up the muscle surrounding it, as they have to tear through them. The more muscle you build up surrounding it, the more protection you give it.

I'll admit, I didn't take much care of mine, which is probably why when I fell over I dislocated it so easily.

As for limitations, before I had my hip done, I could kind of run. I'm not allowed to do sports like rugby, american football, etc, and no trampolines, surfing, etc (There's actually a physical list of things I cant do). Other then that, they're amazingly strong and a lot of the time I forget I even have it. I'm expecting a few more limitations from the hip replacement, and probably more of a noticeable limp

Surfsideryan2 karma

Just curious, why is surfing on there?

pelpeh3 karma

You know, I'm not quite sure. It's most things that puts direct pressure and force up through my leg. Trampolining was the big one, because it does exactly that

CaptainLeftNut2 karma

Do magnets stuck to your leg? Anywhere?

pelpeh2 karma

No. I've tried, I wont lie

hansololee2 karma

the Buzz Aldrin of metal bones

pelpeh2 karma

I know right? So close

KnavishSprite2 karma

Have you had to have the replacement replaced to account for growth from child to adult?

What's your favourite way of passing the time stuck in hospital?

pelpeh10 karma

For the first few years after the placement of the prosthetic, I had to have surgery to do so. They would have to operate every time (about once a year) make a small incision in the side of the knee, and turn a key about 1000 times per centimeter. There would be about 2 or 3 days hospital recovery time.

But technology never stops getting better and better, so one year they replaced a small component in the prosthetic with a motor which allowed me to have it extended without surgery. I just had to put my leg through a coil device which would drive the motor and extend the leg. Took about 15 minutes. There were only a few of these coils in the world, so it had to be shared country to country

Passing the time in hospital is not as hard as i sounds. I game a lot. The steam summer sale was a life saver. I also watch movies and TV shows. I've finished 3 series of How I Met Your Mother in the past few days. I was relieved when I found out they had wifi here. You get to know a lot of people in the ward, too. They're all friendly and you always have something to chat about. Once I can get out of bed and out of the ward it'll be perfect; going out for a cigarette in the warm British summer, go back to my bed, play a game of LoL, have my lunch, watch a movie, etc. It comes a nice routine eventually

When I was having chemo done as a child, I didn't have much strength to game or anything like that. I was either throwing up, watching tv, or sleeping.

mcToby2 karma

How did the bone lengthening feel?

pelpeh2 karma

Nothing at all, couldn't feel it. The lengthening would be very tiny amounts, hardly noticeable

sriracha_everything2 karma

I had the same thing done to me! Mostly the same, that is; I still have the top of my femur, so my hip is still bone. I also had most of my tibia replaced with metal.

I didn't have Ewings sarcoma, however, I had osteosarcoma. It's been 10 years since my femur was removed - things have been going well! I don't have questions for you.. just wanted to give you support!

pelpeh3 karma

That's awesome! Well, not awesome, but you know what I mean. A few people in my ward have osteosarcoma, I think its quite similar to Ewings?

Not a surprise that you dont have a question, you could probably do most of this AMA yourself :P

Thanks man! Keep your chin up

n3utr0n2 karma

Does anyone call you wolverine?

pelpeh5 karma

Wolverine, Ironman, Million dollar man, etc. I welcome them. But originality impresses me, so hats off to any that I haven't heard yet

Xperr75 karma

OK Terminator

fuckallkindsofducks4 karma

Living tissue over metal endoskeleton.

pelpeh2 karma

Is it just me or is this the most badass out of all of them?

Funny thing, My dad first showed me Terminator 1 and 2 while I was in hospital as a kid. "Don't tell your mother I let you watch these". Still two of my favorite movie to date

TheCheshireCody2 karma

What an amazing story. Are you now cancer-free? How did you find out about this option, and how long did it take to get it approved? Did insurance cover any of it, since it sounds like it's fairly experimental?

I broke my femur when I was a kid, so I know what it's like to be laid up for weeks/months and have to rebuild leg muscles (mine had just atrophied, though, not been damaged by invasive surgeries). Sounds like you have the best possible attitude.

pelpeh6 karma

I am coming up to 10 years cancer free soon! Ewing Sarcoma has a very small likelihood of returning, thankfully. My parents first knew something was up when I started getting pains all down my leg, serious, serious agony that left me pretty much immobile. It would last for a day or so. We went to many many doctors, none of which could figure out what was wrong. One of the doctors tested for cancer on a whim, and the tests came back positive for bone cancer

I lived in Hong Kong at the time, and the other doctors we had talked to about the cancer said there was little they could do but amputate the leg. One doctor said he knew a surgeon in the UK who was heading this experimental technology which may be able to help me. So we went to the UK to have a talk with him, who happened to be 10 minutes down the road from my grandparents. After many talks, my parents decided to give it a shot. If I had found out about the cancer a year or two earlier, I would of had my leg amputated. We had to pay for the prosthetic to be build itself. The chemotherapy, and surgery were payed by insurance.

About two years of physiotherapy followed, which I should expect about 5 months of after this.

Audiophial2 karma

CRPS person here.

Do you have any problems with nerve pain after all the surgeries it took to put that bionic leg of yours together?

pelpeh3 karma

No nerve pain, only occasional muscle pain.

However, the past few days, I've noticed a burning sensation on the top of my foot when my leg is in a certain position. This could be my new hip trapping a nerve connected to my foot

DietrichsMeats2 karma

If someone were to punch you in the leg, would they break their fist? Can I try?

pelpeh6 karma

Nope, because it would be the same as punching a normal fleshy leg, except hurting more for me. You can try, as long as I get to do the same to your groin after

GeneralTry2 karma

Is it true that if you have a CAT scan that the metal will burn through your skin or something?

EDIT: I meant MRI

pelpeh2 karma

Wh-...I don't even....

...I don't think so

GeneralTry2 karma

Sorry not a CAT scan, I meant an MRI.

pelpeh2 karma

Well I've had many MRI's since and before the surgery, so I don't think so

Harbenger2 karma

Soooo are you going to go for the full body and become Wolverine?

pelpeh2 karma

Wolverine isn't full body.....is he?

UnknownQTY2 karma

How does it feel to be thematically more like Robocop, than normal human?

On a serious note, are you able to lead a normal life otherwise? Do you have to have it adjusted if you grow (or shrink, when you're really old)?

pelpeh1 karma

It feels great to be like robotcop, the terminator, million dollar man, iron man, wolverine, etc :)

I'd like to say I live a normal life. I go for a check-up every year. Blood tests, x-rays, that sort of thing. Other then that I spend my time working, gaming, with friends, going out, etc

As for growth: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1j9qs7/i_am_a_20_year_old_with_an_entire_metallic_femur/cbcibx5

Dtinva1 karma


cerysss1 karma

How rad is cerysss. be honest.

pelpeh1 karma

Not as rad as she believes


Marvelman17881 karma

How many weapons have you snuck into an airport just for the hell of it?

pelpeh3 karma

None. I unknowingly snuck half a bullet of hash through an airport once; it was just in my wallet and I forgot about it But that had nothing to do with my leg

m0nkeyface_1 karma

Are you a cyborg?

pelpeh3 karma

I wish



A fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities become superhuman by mechanical elements built into the body.

No superhuman abilities :(

ProblemHaters1 karma

Can you swim with the all the metal in your body? I would assume it makes you much less buoyant(spell check).

pelpeh1 karma

Doesn't seem so. I can swim just fine. I think it doesn't make too much of a weight difference.

ala-akbar1 karma

How are you coping with that?

pelpeh7 karma

Quite well, thanks! The steam summer sale has saved me from a lot of boredom. They plan to have me in a brace and up out of bed by either this afternoon or tomorrow. Looking forward to wheeling myself out of the ward for a cheeky cigarette.

First few days after surgery were rough, as they always are. Unfortunately my epidural didn't work, (there's always a small chance it just doesn't work) so I had to endure a lot of pain. I felt much better on the day they did a whole bunch of stuff; removed the epidural, the blood drains, IV line, removed the cast and changed the dressing and took out my catheter. They actually let me take the catheter out myself which felt like this.

BaronBack-take1 karma

Ok this might be a stupid question, but the X rays confuse me a little bit. Is your leg entirely metal even on the outside? The X ray looks like there is still a layer of "skin" or something of the sort around the leg?

pelpeh2 karma

Its all skin and flesh on the outside, completely natural. It's just a bone that they've replaced with a metal replacement

BaronBack-take1 karma

Ok that's what I originally thought you meant. So your own muscle tissues move your leg and everything, and it is only the bone and knee structure that is metal? So you have no acl that can get torn?

pelpeh1 karma

Just the knee structure. Not sure at all on the acl question to be honest, but I'm guessing not

Baloo74871 karma

Do you know what company produced the prosthetic by chance? Depuy, Zimmer, Stryker? I work for an orthopedic company and I am just curious.

Also, do you know if they have plans to replace the femoral head in the future?

Wish a speedy recovery for you man.

pelpeh2 karma

The prosthetic was specially designed by my surgeon and his team. It's quite a specialist case. Not sure if they build it too, so I couldn't tell you

They've replaced the femoral head just a few days ago, after I fractured the bone below it

Thanks for the well wishing!

TheatomicFrobot1 karma

so you are officially the closest any of us will be to ever being like wolverine

pelpeh3 karma


pelpeh3 karma

Hmm, if by "any of us", you mean the Reddit population, then maybe. I don't know if any of us have more metal in them.

I'm definitely not in the world though; there are people who are made up of much more metal, so I cant take that title..

But I can settle for The Wolverine of Reddit

pelpeh1 karma


Vellene1 karma

Really neat stuff! its amazing to see what science can do. Do you by chance have a picture of your legs so that we can see the differences you're talking about? That'd be really cool :)

pelpeh1 karma

Here you go: http://i.imgur.com/VGFm0aK.jpg

My operated leg actually doesn't look very skinny here, but that's because it's still swollen from the operation

Vellene1 karma

Thats actually so cool! Thank you for sending that. Whoever did the operation did a phenomenal job, because you honestly can't even see a difference! I hope all goes well and you stay cancer free :) thanks for doing an AMA!

pelpeh1 karma

No problem at all! Thanks for the kind words. And I'm amazed how popular this AMA turned out to be

Thanks again

WasARealBoy1 karma

Man, fuck the first person in the world!

Sorry you've gone through this. I'm glad they've found such an innovative way to help return your leg (and life) to normalcy.

pelpeh1 karma

Haha, the first person was an Argentinian teenage girl apparently.

Thanks man, I'm very lucky

Alkaholic1 karma

What happens when u grow?

Redditbroughtmehere1 karma

Can you tell a weight difference in your leg? How strong is it? I've always wondered what sort of complications go along with have a procedure like this considering bone marrow is important in creating white blood cells. Has this procedure caused any other health complications?

When do you get your go go gadget arms installed?

pelpeh1 karma

My operated leg weighs less, because the muscles aren't as developed, but I can't tell much difference weight wise myself

During my chemotherapy they fed me platelets over the course of it to keep the count up. I haven't had that in years so I'm really not sure what the deal is.

Complications were typical chemo effects (heart damage, nodules on the chest, etc)

Can't afford the go go gadget arms....yet...

XibalbaN71 karma

You rock man. Interesting post, kudos to you!

pelpeh1 karma

Thanks! You're too kind

redpiano1 karma

Let me just say, you are a bionic man/woman and as such, YOU ARE AWESOME!

pelpeh2 karma

Thank you so much, all these compliments are making me like this

sbaat1 karma

Could you dance after the surgery?

pelpeh3 karma

I could never dance.

ThrillingHeroics851 karma

My surname is Ewings, I don't know any other Ewings with an s, a few Ewing maybe, but there is a cancer named after us!

pelpeh1 karma

*Named after the person who discovered the cancer.


dtwhitecp1 karma

I'm a biomedical engineer and I love this stuff. It's so cool that they could save your leg with sciency leg carpentry.

pelpeh1 karma

It is really fucking amazing. It's still relatively new technology

thisishowwedooooit1 karma

Did you put any effort into picking your surgeon? Where did you decide to have it done?

pelpeh1 karma

My surgeon was the only one who was doing this kind of specialist surgery at the time, we had no choice. We were lucky, the hospital I had it done in, and the hospital I'm in right now is only 5 minutes drive from my grandparents

ImArchMageBitch1 karma

Would your leg now theoretically be able to hold more weight (if you had the muscle to lift the weight required to max out the loud limit of the metal)? i'm going to guess that you don't know but it would be cool to know if your leg is now stronger structurally somehow.

pelpeh1 karma

I guess it would be, only if the muscles were as built up as "normal", but that's not going to happen

drunkadvice1 karma

As a 33 year old getting a hip replacement in 90 days, you inspire me sir. Thanks!

pelpeh1 karma

You're much welcome! You may be older, but you can still be hip and cool

awonman1 karma

Was that pun intended?

pelpeh1 karma

...maybe >_>

Flamov1 karma

I love you bro. I know I don't say it too often or show it, but I really do. Hope you're doing well.

pelpeh2 karma

Thank you, this was great to hear. Love you too. I'm doing just fine, dont worry

Kotetsuya1 karma

Idk if you are still answering questions, nor if this has been asked, but has this affected you when you go through Airports at all?

Picolas_Cage-1 karma


pelpeh2 karma

I still have a heart :(

pelpeh0 karma

Thats not very nice, I'll be honest