A woman has shared her terrifying warning urging everyone to know the symptoms of lung cancer, after discovering what she thought was a slipped disk was actually a terminal diagnosis.
Becca Smith, 29, had excruciating back pain and a cough towards the end of 2019. When her pain became more severe and she started getting migraines, the personal trainer stopped yoga and strength training, thinking she had injured herself at the gym.
After several visits to physiotherapists and chiropractors at the beginning of 2020 and still no answers, the UK woman was shocked to find out that she hadn't strained her back, but actually had stage four lung cancer — and was given only two weeks to live.
In an Instagram post, Ms Smith explained she eventually went to the hospital when she lost her vision.
"At the time I remember being terrified but also relieved that something was finally getting done," she admitted. "I lay in that hospital bed after numerous MRI’s, CT’s and Biopsies and prayed that the worse outcome (a slipped disc) wouldn’t be the case and I’d be on the road to recovery."
Ms Smith stayed in the hospital for five days while doctors ran tests and performed a biopsy on her back in March 2020. After performing tests, doctors told her "it wasn't good news."
"My heart stopped," she admitted.
She was then told she had stage four lung cancer, with secondary tumours in her brain and spine and told she only had two weeks to live.
"I screamed into my mum's arms, ‘Don't let me die mum'," Ms Smith recalled, saying she went home with her family, with friends and family travelling to her house to say their goodbyes.
'Defied the odds'
The 29-year-old refused to believe she only had two weeks to live, desperately trying everything she could to help.
"Myself and my amazing family NEVER gave up and whilst I lay in bed, they became my personal survival team feeding me with juices, oils, all sorts," she said. "ANYTHING to survive."
A week after her diagnosis, Ms Smith received a call saying they had found she had anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) lung cancer, which is extremely rare.
According to Healthline, it occurs when ALK gene breaks and sticks to another gene, If someone has this mutation, their lung cells make too many copies of themselves which are cancerous and can spread to other parts of the body.
Although still incurable, it means that there's treatment available that can prolong Ms Smith's life.
A year after her devastating diagnosis, the yoga teacher is back at the gym "feeling the healthiest mentally and physically," with no cancer detected in her brain and skull anymore, and the cancer in her lungs reduced.
Ms Smith urges people to be more aware of the symptoms of lung cancer and to take them seriously.
"So that more people seek help at the earliest opportunity," she said.
"Early detections really does save lives."
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