Getting rid of bone cancer at age 23 was only the point of departure on a two-year journey for Jacob Farley. He walked slowly, painfully; sometimes five steps a day, sometimes none at all. At times, he hobbled on crutches; at times, he was shackled to his parents’ couch, unable to move.
Along the way, Farley encountered seven or eight surgeries–he doesn’t remember exactly. But then there was the hole in his shin that never healed. There were the bone scrubs, and the rearrangement of his calf muscle to the front of his leg, paired with skin grafts from his thigh. And after every procedure, he undertook the arduous process of learning how to walk again.
Farley had been studying exercise science when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma the day after Christmas of 2012. He continued his studies through the removal of the tumor, but it eventually proved too difficult to read and write in the haze of medications.
“All these surgeries were just to get rid of infections,” he says. “It didn’t even have anything to do with cancer at this point. There were some really dark moments. I remember one day, I was lying on the couch, and my family was watching a baseball game. I just turned my head and faced my couch. I didn’t want to talk anymore. I didn’t want to do anything.” He made his way to the kitchen and sat alone, staring into nothing. He’d reached his breaking point.
But then he began reading a journal his mom had kept over the past year: “I thought to myself, ‘Look at everything that’s already passed. I don’t know when, or what it’s going to look like, but it will all be over.’ There was always a light at the end of the tunnel.”