When Bill first spotted a cough and a wheeze, he was frightened. He knew his years of smoking weren’t good for him and there was a chance these symptoms were a sign he had lung cancer. Despite these nerves, he went to see his doctor. His worst fears came true; Bill did in fact have lung cancer and it was inoperable. However, after having chemotherapy and radiotherapy, he remains cancer free over 20 years later.
“I started feeling something on my chest, something in the right side of my chest causing me to cough and wheeze, especially at night in bed. If I lay on my side, I could feel this thing, like a moth, going around inside my lung and no matter how much I coughed, I couldn’t get rid of it.
I was aware that all this smoking I had done previously wasn’t good for me, so lung cancer was just at the back of my mind. Because of this, I didn’t want to go to the doctor, and I was scared to go because it was likely to be bad news. But at the same time, I knew I had to go. I couldn’t delay any longer and just get it out of the way – one way or another.Bill Culbard
When I was diagnosed, I was told that due to its location, my tumour was inoperable. Instead, I could have chemo and radiotherapy to try and shrink it. I had six full sessions of chemotherapy and then 20 sessions of radiotherapy.
The chemotherapy wasn’t as hard on me as I expected. Why? I don’t know but I was quite pleased about it. Sometimes I got sick, but nothing much and nothing like other people have had. The radiotherapy was much of the same. I felt a little sore at times. I had difficulty swallowing but, again, nothing too bad.
By the end of the radiotherapy, things were looking a bit better and I stared thinking things could work out ok. It was in January or February 2001, I had an appointment with the specialist and she told my tumour had gone. I no longer had cancer. That was unreal, to know that this thing, this large tumour had been shrunk and there was nothing left!
A few months later after I finished the treatment and this guy took me in, checked my notes, and said ‘You no longer have cancer. I don’t want to see you again’. That’ll do me!”