Maria Wilson

Approximately 1 in 2 people will start a cancer journey, this is mine…

In December 1994 I was diagnosed with my first cancer, a Lipoma Like Lipo Sarcoma growing through the pelvis into the buttock on my right side. I was referred to the Royal Marsden Hospital, Kensington, London. My consultant surgeon Mr Meirion Thomas. It was a large sarcoma in two parts, unfortunately it could not be removed completely as it was growing around the main sciatic nerve and a main artery. Since that operation I have been treated to this day with Lyrica for the nerve damage and morphine for the continual pain, the drugs initially were administered via a steel synchromed pump inserted into the abdomen but for the past 10 years the morphine is administered via an adhesive patch placed on alternative buttock cheeks every 72 hours. The surgery was severe and I needed intensive physio to rehabilitate me as I had a problem walking for a time. My bit of luck this time was I didn´t need either chemotherapy or radiotherapy but as they were unable to remove all of the sarcoma I had to make regular visits to the Royal Marsden for scans and consultations with Mr Thomas, this entailed travelling from my home in Birmingham the day before the appointment as the scan was first thing in the morning and the consultation late afternoon the same day, the good news was the sarcoma never grew in size so apart from the continuous pan management I thought that was the end of my cancer journey.On June 6th 2000 my husband Carl (my rock) and I began a new life here on the Costa Blanca. Life was rosy for the next 10 years, Carl had a successful business and I did all the girly things, keep fit, lunches with the girls etc. Then in March 2010 whilst at Torrevieja Hospital for a cortisone injection when with a friend we decided to book a mammogram. My appointment came through almost immediately my friend waited 6 months for hers, maybe it was because of my cancer history, I don´t know but I am so glad I didn´t have to wait 6 months as my mammogram showed two small lumps in my left breast, imagine what could have happened in those 6 months, this is why I believe “EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES” I am certain it saved mine. My mammogram was on Friday 12th February 2010. it showed there were two small tumours in my left breast, A week after the mammogram I received a phone call to return to Torrevieja hospital on Monday 22nd February, I thought for another mammogram as they couldn´t have got a very good image and needed to do it again. Unfortunately, I soon realised it wasn’t for another mammogram but for a biopsy as the mammogram showed the two lumps, one 1cm and the other 1.25 cm so they performed the biopsy, not very pleasant I can tell you. I was given an appointment to see the consultant for the results on Tuesday 13th April, as this was almost two months away I didn´t think there was much to worry about. BUT!!Whilst back in the UK to attend a family wedding I received a phone call from Torrevieja hospital on Sunday 7th March informing me that I was to have an MRI scan the next day, this was obviously not possible as we were not returning to Spain till the next day so another appointment was made for Wednesday10th March for the scan. It was after this phone call that the alarm bells started to ring and there was something very serious going on here for the hospital to call on a Sunday afternoon for an immediate MRI scan. The appointment with the consultant was brought forward to Tuesday 23rd March, this is when I was told I had breast cancer and that both lumps were malignant and the best course of action would be a full mastectomy of my left breast, this came as a complete shock as there was no history of breast cancer in my family. We were informed that following the surgery I would need a course of chemotherapy and then 30 sessions of radiotherapy to be carried out in at a private clinic in Benidorm, that meant travelling to Benidorm every day Mon to Fri for 6 weeks, this was very tiring having to meet the transport at Torrevieja hospital at 8.30 every day and not getting back sometimes until mid-afternoon. The mastectomy was booked in for Tuesday 23rd April , I was given this devastating news in what seemed a very “ matter of fact way”, we were in complete shock and couldn´t really focus on what we were being told, we left the consultant in a complete daze trying to come to terms with it all. But, It is what it is and we will HAVE to deal with it.