MANY people experience stress on a daily basis, and it was no different for Mitera Balkaran.
The 32-year-old started to notice a hive-like rash on her leg, which eventually grew to a lump.
Usually hives aren't anything to worry about and are often the result of pollen, allergies, insect bites, stress, tight clothes and even exercise.
But by the time the mechanical engineer got her diagnosis, she had to make a heart-breaking decision.
The lump on her leg got bigger and bigger, until in August 2021, she was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma.
Initially she beat the cancer, but was told in May 2022 that it had returned.
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Mitera, who lives in Belgium, required extreme treatment in order to fight it off again, including aggressive chemotherapy, lung surgery and perhaps the most life changing, having her leg amputated.
She said: “I was in shock. I went into the consultation with the worst case scenarios in my head but amputation was never a thought I had.
"I was able to keep a straight face but I broke down in tears as soon as I got home after the appointment."
After a few days she decided she would enjoy the rest of time she had left with both limbs.
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Her husband took her to Greece and the couple enjoyed some activities that will never be the same without both legs.
Mitera adds: “It was a roller coaster of emotions for me. I kept looking at everyone's legs and thinking how lucky they are.
"I took a swim in the ocean on the last day of the trip and walked everywhere as much as possible."
She recalled how the first sign of cancer she experienced was a small, painless lump on her leg.
She went to her local GP but was told it was just hives due to work stress, until six weeks later she noticed the lump had grown and had lost all sensation in that leg.
What is soft tissue sarcoma?
SARCOMAS are a cancer that develop in any part of the body.
They are an uncommon disease and can strike inside or outside, including your muscles, bones, tendons, blood vessels and fatty tissues.
n the UK around 15 people are diagnosed with the illness each day – equating to 5,300 people each year.
Sarcoma UK says there are around 100 different subtypes of the cancer.
Your treatment will depend on the type of sarcoma you have and these can be grouped into soft tissue and bone sarcomas.
The illness can sometimes have no obvious symptoms.
The signs will depend on where the cancer develops.
The NHS lists these examples:
- Swelling under the skin that causes a painless lump that gets bigger over time
- Swelling in the stomach
- Constant feeling of fullness
- Swelling in the lungs that causes a cough or breathlessness
After that she decided to go to a different GP and after an ultrasound and MRI scan, was told she had a form of soft tissue sarcoma called Undifferentiated Pleomorphic High-Grade Sarcoma (UPS).
She added: “I often wonder whether if the first GP took me seriously, would I still have my leg today.
“I started documenting my journey on TikTok to leave behind my memories in case I passed on.
"I also realised that there isn't enough content out there for Sarcoma so this was also my motivation.
“People think everything will be normal again for me and that's not true at all. I will create a new normal for myself, but it will never be the same normal that I've had for the past 32 years."
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Now Mitera will have to have 18 weeks of aggressive chemotherapy, followed by surgery to remove the tumours which have spread over her body including in her lungs.
After she recovers, she will then be able to start rehabilitation for her leg and practice using a prosthetic leg.
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