When I was first diagnosed with in-transit Melanoma in 2013, the words ‘metastasis’ began floating around the hospital corridors and the rising tide of confusion was taking centre stage on my face; lets just say our old friend ‘Google’ was sent in to research overdrive from that point forward.
I wasn’t totally naïve; in laymen’s terms my depiction was:
Metastasis = Spread
But what did that really mean? How did this metastasis come about and by golly gosh did it have a very big OFF switch that I could just flick?
The answer to the last frenzied question was… NO, it wasn’t that simple and so began my Willy Wonka tour in to understanding the enormity of what I was facing. In January of this year (2014), I was told that my cancer had developed into Advanced Metastatic Melanoma and it was here my most challenged opponent became my biggest enemy!
I became aware that some people like myself to date, have no real physical symptoms from their metastatic tumors other than what is identified on CT scans and other tests. But the body has trigger points and mildly and subtly depending on the size and the location of the metastasis a variety of symptoms can start to occur. For example, the bulk of my identifiable metastasis are located on my lungs so some logical identifiers of this could come in the form of shortness of breath or frequent coughing. There are times where I do get slightly puffed but I like (and not always like to admit) that it is due to my newly sedentary lifestyle of which I have the power in myself to change, at this point in time. The body is an amazing teacher we just need to listen to it more adeptly.
So let me introduce you to a TEDEd video I came across the other day that ingeniously and visually decipher the surface of understanding the minefield of metastasis. [PS. I’m a visual girl, give me a page of facts and figures and my eyes automatically begin searching for a picture, a graph or a scale that gives me the answers I am seeking! So for all my visual fact-finding buddies, this is for you!]
How does cancer spread through the body? – Ivan Seah Yu Jun – TEDEd
Did you find this helpful? Are you able to say metastasis now without getting tongue-tied, I know… let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves! Hopefully the clip provides a very small insight into understanding what can be a black hole of information overload when trying to navigate the mysteries of cancer. As they say though: knowledge is power!
Please remember to always seek the advice of a medical oncologist or specialist in oncology when undertaking your treatment options.
With love, light and knowledge xx