We know when lung cancer is caught early, it is treatable and curable. Sadly, too few people though are diagnosed at an early enough stage for curative treatment. Liz, however, was one of the lucky ones. And when we say lucky, we really mean it. Liz’s lung cancer was found completely by accident.
“I was diagnosed about 18 months ago. I had a questionable appendicitis. I had very bad lower tummy pain and went to the hospital to make sure it wasn’t an appendicitis or anything. It turned out it was a burst ovarian cyst. For some reason, I have no idea why, they did a chest x-ray but I didn’t think anything of it.
About a week later, I got the call back from the doctor who had seen me in the A&E department. He told me they had seen a shadow on my lung from the chest x-ray. Things kicked off from there.
“My boys keep me living. They are pure joy. They’ve kept me going on during the darkest of days.”Liz was diagnosed with lung cancer aged 41
The diagnosis knocked me sideways. I’ve never smoked. I’m fairly healthy. I eat pretty well. I just run around, full time mum looking after my three young boys. I didn’t have a cough. I didn’t have anything you’d typically expect with lung cancer.
It’s really interesting being part of this campaign and hearing the other stories because you realise the roll of the dice that is the outcome of life sometimes. It makes me feel profoundly lucky that I’ve been on the right side of the dice throw and very sad for those who haven’t been.
I think it’s impossible to go through what I’m going through, for anyone to go through what I’m going through, to not have bad days. I call it the edge and every now and then I look over the edge and I wish I hadn’t. It’s nothing but fear over the edge and it’s, obviously, all about my boys being left without a mother and how horrendous that is. So I actively choose not to think about it.
My boys keep me living. They are pure joy. Even when I’m feeling crumby from chemotherapy, I will get up and do the school run because it fills me with jot to do it. They’re chitter chattering away and they’re completely oblivious and life goes on.It’s kept me going on during the darkest of days.
Of course, you have the times where you burst into tears in the shower because it has to come out at some point. It would be ridiculously impossible not to. But I am genuinely convinced I’m going to be fine. It’s been caught early enough. The doctors are positive so I’m rolling with that.
I choose to live a normal life and not a ‘cancer life’ so I don’t particularly want a network of other people affected by cancer. I feel a bit selfish about that but it helps me. My support comes from my regular friends, my church and my family.
Everybody has been amazing. I’ve had food parcels delivered to my door, in case I don’t feel like cooking one night. I love my gardening so a load of friends came round to help me plant my bulbs after my surgery.
It’s strange, loads of people have been affected by my diagnosis but in a positive way because it’s really brought my group together. I feel closer now to everyone that I ever hoped for and, in a weird way, I really feel happier than I’ve ever felt before because I feel loved and cared for and supported by so many people.”