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26th November 2018

Liz Clarke

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“It was like somebody had kicked me in the stomach. At that point, your world just falls apart.”

Liz vividly remembers the day she was diagnosed; it was a week before her granddaughter’s christening. She remembers thinking “Will this be the last family event that I’m at?” But it wasn’t and it isn’t because Liz was diagnosed early.

“I was diagnosed in June 2013, a day etched forever in my mind. My GP referred me for a chest x-ray and when he called me back, he told me “It looks like you have a suspected, malignant tumour” and that was all he was able to tell me.

Liz, living with lung cancer.

“I couldn’t believe it. I literally couldn’t believe it.

You think that’s it but somehow you get through it.

There are points when it’s funny because it was day one and there was a coffee cart and the woman said “Do you want a loyalty card?” and we both laughed and said “We’re not sure if we’re actually going to be here long enough to have a loyalty card!” These are the sort of things that keep you going.

I have nothing but admiration for my surgeon who put me right, basically. He took the offending article out and put me back together!

They had to take the whole lung out but there’s still lots I can do and do do. I can’t probably climb mountains any longer, not that I ever did it in my life before! I can’t scuba dive apparently, someone told me, well I didn’t do that before either!

My advice, and it has been to friends who have had persistent coughs, even to people I don’t know, if I hear somebody coughing and I’m out I’ll say “Have you been coughing for a long time?” and they’ll say “Oh, I have actually!” and I’ll say “You really ought to go and see about it!”

The ripple effect of my experience has been positive, I suppose it has, because it ensures people don’t let something go that could be treated.”