When Miriam discovered she had cancer, she didn't understand why her family were so sad. At the age of 19 she noticed a lump forming in her right leg. It was soft when her leg was relaxed and it got hard when she flexed it, but she didn't bother her much. After a while her leg began to hurt. The doctor told her to put ice on it, rest and see if the swellingswelling went away.
Until that time she knew almost nothing about cancer. Nobody in her family had been seriously ill. When Miriam first heard that she had cancer, she wondered why her dad was crying - he used to be in the army and was the strongest man she had ever known. Miriam thought that she would be in hospital for some weeks and then everything would be fine.
The doctors tried everything but in the end they had to amputate her leg.
Once she got used to her new leg, things started to get back to normal. She was told that the entire lump had been excised, but to be sure I was sent for chemotherapy. Miriam returned home. She looked horrible as her hair was falling out and she couldn't afford a wig. From a british mediacal support group she received a wig, which made her really happy.
Over the next 12 months, she had quarterly check-ups. It was a difficult period, because her grandmothers died, her father began to drink heavily and her boyfriend wanted just to be her friend.
Helping others seems to be the greatest form of therapy. Miriam began to feel better about herself when she realized that she could bring inspiration and hope to others coping with cancer. She have met some wonderful people. Some of them she had known for years, without knowing how wonderful they were. Others she would never have known. She have met extraordinary people battling with the disease and medical people who have gone beyond the call of duty to help her. Her disease has profoundly changed her outlook on life, on people, on religion, on the world.
Miriam believes that a positive attitude is the only way to fight cancer, because without that you are letting it control your life.