Margaret was just 47 when she was diagnosed with lung cancer and brain metastases. She experienced none of the common symptoms of lung cancer.
“My first and only symptom was pain at the base of my skull at the top of my neck. The pain was so bad I rang 111. They sent me to a doctor who consequently sent me to hospital. I had an x-ray of my neck but there was nothing there, so I was sent home with painkillers.
The painkillers did not agree with me though; I started vomiting and passed out. My husband called an ambulance and I was taken to A&E where they did a CT scan. The scan revealed a mass in my right lung and, subsequent tests also revealed brain metastases.
I had the brain tumour surgically removed towards the end of February and made a good recovery.
I then had a biopsy of the tumour in my lung which found a genetic mutation called EGFR. This meant I could able to have targeted therapy. This involved taking a tablet daily and allowed me to continue to live a fairly normal life with my husband and 12-year-old son.
Unfortunately, my cancer became resistant to this particular form of targeted therapy. This was always going to be the case but I was heartbroken that it didn’t work for a bit longer.
I had my tumour rebiopsied and this time luck was on my side; the biopsy revealed another mutation which mean I was eligible for another type of targeted therapy. I was so happy.
This happiness was short lived however; this treatment only worked for four months before, once again, the cancer started to resist and start to grow again. I am now due to start chemotherapy which, I must say, scares me silly.
I have had another blood biopsy though and am keeping everything crossed that it shows another mutation that allows me to go back onto targeted therapy as, for me, it has far milder side effects compared to more traditional treatments, like chemotherapy.
Whatever happens though, I just try to carry on as normal. I do this for me but mainly for my husband and son. It isn’t easy and some days are harder than others but what other choice do I have.”