When I was diagnosed with lung cancer in September 2007 it really shouldn’t have been too big of a surprise. I had actually been ill for several years before my diagnosis whilst I was still working as a nurse at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.
I was working a long day when I first coughed up blood and as a nurse knew to go straight to my GP for a check-up. But after test and investigations was “only” found to have a vascular mass in my lungs. Second rounds of everything were sought; second scans, second tests and second opinions. All so the doctors could stop the bleeding in my lungs.
It wasn’t actually until our summer holiday to Turkey during 2007 that something changed. I just knew something was wrong. I had a pain in my lung, I had lost weight and I was tired all the time, all things I knew weren’t right. Something was wrong, something had changed.
I was sent straight back to the hospital. After two bronchoscopies and a host of further blood tests they discovered I had new nodules and just days later they told me I had lung cancer.
The strangest thing was it was almost like I knew what was coming. I had always gone to my doctors’ appointments alone but on the day I was diagnosed I had asked a friend to come along with me. It was as though I knew they were going to tell me I had cancer.
Due to my enlarged lymph nodes, surgeons couldn’t operate but that did make me the ideal candidate for a trial called Soccar, I was just in the right place at the right time. This is one of many things really that have me believing that parts of my journey have been left up to fate.
Fate hasn’t always been enough to see me through though. I always had a strong sense of faith and I have found this has only deepened since my diagnosis. During my treatment when I went down to six stones in weight, when I was too ill to go to radiotherapy and when they made the decision not to resuscitate me to the Christmas dinner when I could only eat one sprout. I would wake up in the middle of the night to ask God to let me be alright.
Since the day of my diagnosis it has been my children that have spurred me on. They were only 12 and 14 at the time and I was adamant I would see them become the wonderful adults they are today.
I have learned to live with cancer, there is no reason to stop living my life.