Jo Meftah

On the morning of the 11th December 2011, the day after I had celebrated my 53rd birthday with my family, I was drying myself having showered before going to work and suddenly found a rather sizeable lump in my right boob, my initial thought was “how had I never noticed it before”. It was hard and quite large and really not difficult to miss. But the problem is I had never bothered to look for anything, it was before all the recent knowledge and attention that now highlights the importance of checking ourselves.

I thought I was fit, I was going to the gym and leading a busy life juggling work and being a single parent after a recent marriage break down which is why I had maybe neglected to notice anything was wrong. 

So that same morning after my birthday I went straight to the doctors and had a very hasty hospital appointment soon after. Breast cancer grade 3 her2 + was quite quickly diagnosed after a biopsy and in the New Year, I had a mastectomy. On referral to oncology and lots of scans later, a PET scan showed that the cancer had travelled beyond my boob to my left hip, spine, collar bone and liver. 

With hindsight, which, as they say, is a wonderful thing, the writing was already on the wall. I had had a pain in my left hip for a while which was quite painful when walking but I ignored it and put it down to getting older.

I could drive myself mad trying to think when did it start, why didn’t I check myself, what did I do that caused this but I accept now it is what it is and nine years on and nine grandchildren later I have learnt to count my blessings and try to live the best life I can.

The treatment is ongoing and will not cure my cancer but with every year that passes they are developing new ways to hold back metastatic cancers giving patients a good chance to live well and longer after diagnosis.

f you have been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer then please do reach out to our secondary cancer support group on Facebook.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Jo during our calendar shoot, posing with flowers.

More Stories