Shelley's story

On 6th of February 2013 at the age of 28 I was coming home from the hospital after my last radiotherapy session of 15. I'd also been through 6 rounds of chemotherapy and 5 surgeries over the 8 months prior to that and, as far as I was concerned, this was the point where I could start living again, cancer free. I was exhausted but excited for the future.

I was aware of the possibility of secondaries and always cautious of any potential symptoms because my amazing Mum fought breast cancer for 9 years. She gained her angel wings in November 2015 because of the secondaries in her brain.

In November 2017 at 33 I found a lump on my back and went to get it checked out. Tests were done because of my history but the lump looked, felt and had all the characteristics of a cyst. It wasn't. After a biopsy, secondary cancer was confirmed, a scan was done and I'm now being treated for secondaries in the soft tissue in my back and also inside my chest wall and a couple of lymph nodes.

It's a surreal and scary thing to know you have a disease that can only be controlled or treated and you'll forever carry the label of “incurable”. I know that one day this disease will get the better of me, I made my peace with that pretty quickly. What I can't make my peace with is that my Dad has had his wife stolen from him, I was there to help him through that. I won't be around to help pick up the pieces when it's my turn.

The fact is unless miracles exist or there are big advancements in research and treatment the prognosis for secondary diagnosis is either that hearts stop beating or they simply get broken.