9th August 2023

Kayte’s lung cancer story

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Wife, mother, grandmother, travel enthusiast. Kayte Batchelor has so many titles under her belt, but lung cancer patient is something she never thought she’d call herself. Diagnosed just before her 55th birthday, Kayte is determined to make the most of life with her family and friends in the face of incurable cancer.

“Getting diagnosed was very difficult. It took over six months with the doctor initially telling me I categorically I didn’t have lung cancer to a stage 4 diagnosis.

“I was given a series of tests and results, just none that confirmed what was wrong with me. My first CT scan actually revealed a mass in my abdomen, but that turned out to be ‘old blood.’ I also had a raised lymph node that turned out to be nothing.

“The doctors thought it might be Thoracic Endometriosis until a PET scan finally revealed my lung cancer with a further biopsy revealing an EGFR positive mutation.”

“I remember being in the room with the Lung Nurse, and as kind and thoughtful as she was, I could not get my head around that she was actually talking to me. However, in time, I had access to counselling as well as the Ask the Nurse helpline through Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation which helped. I found real strength using the website and reading through other patient stories.”

Osimertinib – the drug that changed everything…

Kayte thought that her lung cancer diagnosis was an immediate death sentence. However, she soon discovered that although her cancer was incurable, it was treatable. Due to her EGFR mutation, her doctor informed her that she was eligible for a targeted therapy drug called Osimertinib. Delighted at the news, Kayte found a new lease of life.

Finding out that I was eligible for Osimertinib was amazing. The fact that this one little pill had the capacity to shrink my tumours and in effect ‘put my Cancer to sleep’ was astonishing.

“When I first started on the drug, I felt quite sick and suffered from fatigue. However, I learnt very quickly to listen to my body and rest when I needed it!

“Occasionally I also have issues with my nails getting sore, but antibiotics and white wine vinegar remedies have helped to alleviate the pain.

“I’ve been very lucky to be honest. I’ve found that, as time goes on, I have fewer side effects, or they come and go. It’s a small price to pay for the incredible little pill I take daily.

“I’m so thankful for Osimertinib. It changed my life. I know eventually that the drug will stop working, but I try not to look too far into the future. I know there are lots of treatments out there and the research Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation does alone is so empowering.”

My incredible support system

“Telling my friends and family was tough. I remember sitting down and telling my children and trying to be very strong for them. I told them I was going to give it my all to survive and survive well. It was probably one of the most difficult conversations I have ever had. 

“My Husband was floored in the early days and felt powerless as he felt he couldn’t ‘fix’ my situation. My friends were all so supportive and most continue to be so, everyone rallied around me and although they were all so shocked, they encouraged me so much. 

“I have to give a shout-out to Karen Coxall, who ran in my name in this year’s London Marathon for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. She blew me away with her commitment, and it was very emotional when we joined her at the end.”

I think most of all, my diagnosis has made me realise how precious time and life are, and I for one am going to ‘wring the life out of life’.