In December 2020 — after months of aggressive chemotherapy and a limb salvage surgery that removed a 60mm tumor in his leg’s femoral head (the area near the pelvis) and replaced it with a titanium rod prosthesis — Armond, then 26, celebrated one year of being cancer-free. Family and friends, as well as his beloved English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students in Tehran, Iran, where he lives, gathered to commemorate the happy occasion. His students even surprised him with a sign that read “1 year cancer-free!”
But, three months later, Armond’s osteosarcoma metastasized to the soft tissue near the prosthesis in his leg and spread to his lungs as well. He faced another surgery to remove the tumor in his leg and two more surgeries to remove nodules in his left and right lungs, followed by several more rounds of chemotherapy.
“I’m just thankful that it’s operable,” says Armond, ever the optimist. However, he understands that with each new surgery or treatment, there is an inherent risk. “I do worry every time I have a surgery, but my doctors are amazing. It’s a beautiful thing to have complete confidence in your doctors when you’re going into surgery.”
A Knack for Positivity
During surgery, 17 nodules were removed from his left lung and another 10 from his right. He is now being treated with chemotherapy, which he will continue until his oncologist is confident that the cancer is gone. All the while, Armond teaches as much as his energy allows.
“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to work on and off despite all that’s going on,” says Armond, who has been a devoted EFL teacher since he was 18. “My students, my colleagues, my boss — they’ve all been amazing. I’ve been lucky to be able to continue to work with my students while going through all of this.”
Still, Armond is eager to get back to his life before cancer took over.
“I miss the little things that people take for granted,” he admits. “Something as insignificant as walking up the stairs… you don’t realize all that you take for granted.”
While his knack for positivity has helped him this second time around, “it’s hard because there’s basically no other osteosarcoma patients or organizations here in Tehran. [Osteosarcoma] can be a very lonely cancer.”
That yearning for connection drove him to share his story on social media, specifically on Instagram. A writer by nature, Armond sought out others who could share in his experience. He began using Instagram’s image captions as a place to make sense of his innermost feelings. It quickly became a creative outlet where he shares his own story and connects with other cancer survivors. It’s also how he found out about the Osteosarcoma Institute and discovered their weekly stories of osteosarcoma survivors; content he had been longing to find. He immediately connected with the Osteosarcoma Institute to share his journey and inspire others.
“I come across beautiful stories of people’s cancer journeys and they give me hope and reassure me in what I’m doing,” says Armond, who pictures himself in the future being in remission and finally writing a book, a longtime dream of his. “That is another motivation to keep fighting.”
His biggest motivation, however, are his students.
“They love me and they keep sending me messages of how inspiring I am,” he says. “That warms my heart. It makes me want to keep fighting, knowing that it inspires someone or makes a change in someone else’s life.”
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