Lesley Booth, who is now 68, was diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago.
She had been a smoker for 40 years before deciding to quit after years of chest infections and coughs, she had lost all enjoyment of smoking and decided it was time to kick the habit.
After making the decision to quit, Lesley went online to find support and information for quitting smoking. It was then that the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s support group ‘quit support’ became a part of her quitting process. Lesley replaced her morning cigarette with a morning post to the online group.
She said, “Posting messages to the group became a part of my daily routine and replaced my usual cigarette breaks. It’s important to find something to break your smoking routine, everybody is different and you need to find what works best for you”.
Eleven months after she chose to quit smoking, Lesley was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012, following a CT scan, which showed a tumour on her right lung.
Lesley explained, “After initially only going to the doctors because of leg pains I was surprised about the amount of testing I had before being sent home. I was then called in for a CT scan two days later.
“I just assumed I had arthritis. But I was wrong.”
“After the results of my CT scan came back showing a tumour on my lung, I was told that they would have to perform two operations.
“One was to remove a tumour near my windpipe and the main artery to my brain and then another to remove my whole right lung. If the first operation had been unsuccessful then that would have been the end as far as any treatment was concerned.
“Since that first diagnosis, I have had a number of serious illnesses, including a heart attack and secondary cancer of my adrenal gland. I am currently cancer free and hopeful for the future.
“If I had not stayed positive and received support throughout it all, I do not think I would have survived. Life after the treatments and operations is definitely slower, and for a while, I was afraid to go out for fear of being too breathless.”
“After three years of illness and pain, all I can say is that I wish I had never smoked.”
As a regular user of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation Quit Support online community, Lesley was approached to become an administrator, helping to maintain engagement within the community. When it is possible, and she is in good health, she also visits the Roy Castle Leeds support group in the Robert Ogden Centre, St James’s Hospital.