Ever since her initial diagnosis in 2014, Jane has been a dedicated lung cancer advocate. She’s helped us raise awareness on numerous occasions, most recently taking part in our Face Your Fear campaign in 2018 as well as raising over £24,000 in support of the charity and fellow lung cancer patients. So when we asked if anyone would be willing to share their feelings about the coronavirus pandemic, it was no surprise that Jane was one of the first to raise her hand:
“If I contracted the virus, I would follow the government guidance to start with and hope that I only contracted a mild form. However, there’s no denying it would be very worrying if I did get it.
Having advanced lung cancer, along with my treatment history which includes radiotherapy and surgery, make me more vulnerable than most. My lungs, perhaps, wouldn’t be strong as others to get through it.
A few weeks ago, I had a strange fever which happened overnight, I thought I was getting pneumonia again but thankfully it cleared in the morning, particularly because our local hospital is an hour away, so getting there isn’t easy.
It just reinforced how important it is that we do what we can to reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus.
Making the best of it
I am feeling fine at the moment, both physically and mentally. We are very lucky to live in a rural spot and so it is easy to self-isolate up here!
Self-isolating has meant that life has slowed down and I’m able to appreciate the simpler things. I feel very fortunate that because we live in such a beautiful area. We can sit outside in the sun with a coffee and see lambs in the fields, watch the birds fly by, listen to the stream and breathe fresh air. This helps a great deal with my mental health, along with running.
I’ve always loved running and my lung cancer diagnosis didn’t stop me, and nor will coronavirus. Four months after surgery, I ran Marathon Eryri (aka the Snowdonia marathon!). We have three dogs, so we are trying to get them out for a run or walk each day, whilst adhering to the government guidelines.
As we are going to be staying at home for a while, we are making the best out of the situation. While the weather is nice, we’re tidying up our garden. It can get overgrown, so this could be the year we finally get some of the neglected spots under control! If the weather turns wet again, there are plenty of jobs inside that I can turn my hand to as well.
Overwhelmed by support
Thanks to the internet, we are feeling very connected even though we’re not seeing anyone! We have just recently got ourselves connected to a faster internet supplier – it couldn’t have come at a better time – so now I’m able to FaceTime with my mum and keep in touch with friends and family. My local book club are arranging a catch-up cuppa and chat over Messenger or Zoom which will be lovely too.
The advice to self-isolate came out quite suddenly and we could see on the news that everyone was panic buying. We usually have a bit of extra food in in case of emergencies, but I started to worry when I couldn’t book a food delivery slot for a month.
However, there is a great sense of community where we live and a lot of support available. Everyone is being so helpful. We have had people go out of there way for us, offering to drop things off. The local pharmacy will deliver our prescriptions and the butcher is putting some food aside for us to be picked up by a friend. We feel very supported which is lovely to feel at a very uncertain time for everyone.
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation has also been a great support over the years, and they kindly reached out to me to check how I was coping in this current situation. They are such a support to people with lung cancer and there are no other charities which provide the same.
Their online forum is really helpful for keeping in touch with other people in a similar situation. You can share thoughts and experiences with those who really understand what you are going through. There’s the nurse led helpline too, which is a lifeline for so many.
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation fights your corner for you and helps keep research into lung cancer moving forward. It would be such a loss if the charity collapsed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, so I will continue to support it every way I can and hope, for the sake of the thousands of people like me with lung cancer, others do the same.”