4th December 2023

Celia’s story: Life 45 years after lung cancer

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Diagnosed in 1978 at the age of 35, Celia faced the challenges of a lung cancer diagnosis with remarkable determination.

Prompted by persistent fatigue and the alarming sight of coughing up spots of blood, Celia’s lung cancer diagnosis began with a trip to her GP. The subsequent bronchoscope experience left her feeling frightened, unveiling the unsettling news that her lung had partially collapsed and she had a tumour.

Urgent action followed. Her surgery was scheduled within 10 days of her procedure, leading to a three-week stay in two Norfolk hospitals.

The revelation that her tumour was a carcinoid, though low-grade, added layers of complexity to her diagnosis. This rare tumour presented a unique challenge for the medical professionals involved.

Navigating the unknown

“The doctors said it was a rare tumour. He had only seen 3 of them before. I believe two lobes were removed but I’m not sure as 45 years ago it was not so open as to what you were told!

I asked the surgeon if I would see my children grow up. He said yes, but he didn’t think I’d make ‘old bones’…I’ve just had my 80th birthday this year. 45 years on…It’s safe to say I did!”

Celia’s life continued to unfold as she transitioned from a career in hairdressing to dedicating 29 years to volunteer work. Through this experience, she discovered the power of genuine connection and unearthed profound insights about herself.

80 years old and defying expectations

45 years after her diagnosis, Celia stands as a testament to resilience. Walking uphill might be challenging, but Celia’s mantra of “bloody get on with it” spurs her on daily. Next year she celebrates 60 years of marriage with her incredible husband.

As a touching tribute to her life with lung cancer, Celia also bears a tattoo of poppies on her scar, symbolising her favourite flower. The poppies, like her, stand resilient, blossoming even in the face of adversity.

Celia’s story is a hopeful one, reminding us that within life’s unexpected twists, there lies an unyielding strength waiting to be discovered.