Turning the corner

Monday 12 May, 2008 by Peg

Have you ever turned the corner and been surprised by what was there? Well that is what happened with me when I was diagnosed with secondary cancer.

I was having a test to find a ruptured disc in my back, something that would have been really simple to handle in the scheme of things now. Instead my GP rang and said my lower back and hip looked like moths had been eating away, that I had lytic lesions. When I asked him to explain lytic lesions further he said "they usually happen when something metastizes." As I told him, the only thing I knew that metastized was cancer. The silence on the other end of that phone was resounding.

From there I had a colonoscopy and a bi-lateral mammogram looking for the primary site. The primary site was the breast. I have always done breast self-exams but did not find this lump. I had a mammogram in February 2006, with nothing remarkable reported. This was now October 2007.

My question remains did we miss it? Or is this an aggressive breast cancer? No one had an answer for me. My breasts are fiberous, even the oncologist professed to having to really check carefully to find the lump in my breast. While this makes me feel somewhat better, because I routinely did self-exams, it didn't change anything. I had breast cancer which had already become a secondary cancer.

Disbelief, surprise, fear, anger, surprise are the least of the feelings I have had. I continue to move through various emotional, mental and physical stages while getting treatment, trying to stay positive, hoping to understand what it all means, and manage the pain.

We include these stories to give readers an insight into the experience of cancer. Each experience is unique. Different people react differently to the same treatments, and treatments can vary depending on a person's age, the stage of their cancer and other factors.

Call our Helpline on 13 11 20 if anything you read here raises questions you'd like answered.

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Updated: 12 May, 2008