As a young mum, lung cancer couldn’t be further from your mind. Sadly, for Lucy it was a reality not once but twice. She shares her lung cancer experience to show anyone can be diagnosed with lung cancer and that more research is desperately needed to understand why.
“For eight months I was presenting the classic signs of lung cancer. But I was constantly misdiagnosed, which I now know is sort of the standard when you are considered young and a non-smoker.
Despite this, I was still diagnosed early enough to have surgery to remove the lung cancer.
Following the surgery, I felt quite positive. But within a few weeks, I started to get my symptoms again. My cancer had come back and this time it wasn’t treatable by surgery.
I underwent chemotherapy, which hit me really hard. I was also told that the best we could hope for was for the chemo to slow the growth of the cancer – they couldn’t cure it. That isn’t something you want to hear in your early thirties and have a young daughter.
As well as my health, another big worry during my illness was money. Because we’re a young family, we didn’t have a little nest egg built up. And although my employers were very good, I did feel a bit of pressure to get back to work so we’d have my salary again.
My husband had to work all the time. He had to keep the money coming in. He couldn’t take time off to be there for me and my daughter. It’s for reasons like this that it’s so important people know about the financial support available to them.
After my chemo, I did return work. Not just because of the money, but also because I wanted to feel like me again, like the person I was before this nightmare began. I didn’t want my diagnosis to define me and stop me living.
It seems to be working because, to date, my cancer hasn’t returned.
I also found meeting other people like me has helped with coming to terms with my diagnosis. Through attending Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation patient advocacy conferences, I’ve met other younger people who’ve never smoked but have been diagnosed with lung cancer. From speaking to others at these meetings, I’ve also learnt the importance of lung cancer support groups and how they can prevent feelings of isolation as well.
I’m also very pleased to hear that Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is funding more and more research. I’m very interested to know what the triggers are for people like me to get lung cancer because, my biggest worry of all, is that my daughter will end up in the same boat when she’s older. The more research into how we can prevent and treat lung cancer the better.”