Hiding a Growing Lump in Her Foot for a Decade Lead to This Catastrophic Loss
A woman who for an entire decade thought nothing of the growing lump on her foot ended up getting an amputation. Cheryl Murray, from Glasgow, kept the growing bump on her right foot secret, not even her family and boyfriend knew of it. Cheryl kept it hidden because she felt insecure and embarrassed.
Since she had slipped off a pavement a few days before she first noticed the lump, Cheryl thought it a torn ligament. She was merely 15 years old then and even though her doctor had referred her for physiotherapy, it never healed. Assuming it was not serious, Cheryl decided to put up with the growth. Unfortunately, the lump kept getting bigger, and by 2014, it had grown too big and too painful to ignore. She would be left in agony whenever she ever knocked it on anything.
Cheryl finally gathered the courage to let her partner, David McKenzie, in on the secret. And after some convincing, she visited her doctor at Glasgow’s Western Infirmary. A string of tests later, the doctor diagnosed her with sarcoma, a virulent infection of the connective tissues. Cheryl was dealt another devastating blow on that very day. The doctor also informed her that amputation was necessary to stop the disease from spreading. They were to amputate her right leg below the knee. Too stunned to speak, Cheryl was hysterical the moment she learned about losing her leg, having never thought it would get that serious.
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Although surgery is usually sufficient at an earlier stage, amputation is the last option of treatment for advanced sarcomas. In the wake of her diagnosis, Cheryl worried that David wouldn’t stick with a woman with one leg. However, David vowed to stay, citing he was in that relationship for life. He even proposed a week before the operation. David reassured her that they would get through it since the experience had only made them stronger. The knowledge that he would be there to support her was the only thing that kept Cheryl going after the operation.
Thanks to the support provided by her family and boyfriend, Cheryl had felt calm before the operation. However, as soon as she woke up after the surgery, Cheryl was completely panicked about her life’s new reality and felt horrible. She spent five days recovering at Glasgow Royal Infirmary after undergoing her amputation in the hospital. Cheryl left the hospital in a wheelchair and began regular physiotherapy, after which she was fitted with a prosthetic leg.
Admittedly, she has thought a lot about whether going back to the doctors sooner could have saved her leg. Keeping her leg would probably have been possible back then since the growing lump was a lot smaller than it eventually became. In the end, Cheryl accepted the loss of her leg, after which she developed a positive attitude. Having come to terms with what happened, Cheryl never lets herself wish she had gone to the doctor sooner. She has embraced the fact that she can only move on with her future since changing the past is impossible.
Sarcomas are a group of rare cancerous cells that affect the tissues connecting, supporting and surrounding other body organs and structures. The most affected tissues include deep skin tissues, fat tissues, blood vessels, muscle tissue, tendons, and ligaments. Sarcomas account for one in every 100 cancerous infections in the UK and doctors diagnose over 3,000 new cases every year. These cancerous cells can develop in any part of the human body including the arms, legs, and torso. In the early stages, no visible symptoms exist. However, sufferers could notice a soft, painless lump that cannot be easily moved around and keeps growing.
Discovery of sarcomas in the early stages offers the best chances of treatment without adverse effects such as amputation. As such, seeking medical attention as soon as you notice any lump underneath your skin is important. As evidenced by Cheryl’s story, assumptions often lead to catastrophic loss.