18th May 2019

Nicky Peel

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The doctors thought Nicky’s symptoms could be many things – anxiety, depression, perimenopause. Lung cancer was not one of those things considered because she wasn’t high risk. Nicky is now living with incurable lung cancer.

“It all started in 2015. I began waking up with the feeling that I couldn’t get enough breath.

I went to the doctors and had chest x-rays but nothing showed up.

Nicky, living with lung cancer.

This went on for well over a year, back and forth to the doctor. They asked if I was depressed or anxiety and started going down that route. They wanted to put me on anti-depressants. I did challenge at the time because I’ve never been an anxious person, certainly never been depressed.

In the end, they basically put it down to being a women of certain age so, perimenopause.

“I continued with the symptoms but just left it. I just wish that I’d have pushed more.”

Nicky was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer aged 48

Up until then, I’d not been to the doctor ever. I’d not had a day off sick at work so I knew something was wrong. But because I was a woman of a certain age, you think OK, perhaps they’re right, so I just left it. I continued with the symptoms but just left it. I just wish that I’d have pushed more.

That’s the biggest piece of advice I could give to someone who is experiencing symptoms – persevere. You know your body better than anybody and if you feel that something is not right then push. Keep pushing until you get answers.

If you feel you’re being a nuisance to your GP, so what! Be a nuisance. Be the biggest nuisance you can be but just persevere.


I’m now stage 4. I’ve had progression to both lungs now. I know this illness is going to shorten my life by 20, 30 years. I’m not going to be in retirement with my husband. I’m not going to see my youngest child marry and have children of his own.

Because I’ve accepted that, it’s really, really important to not let it affect what remaining days, or years, I do have. It’s important to just live and not dwell.

It is hard though, especially at scan time. The scans itself are absolutely fine. It’s the wait between having your scan and getting the results. They call it scanxiety.

It’s like you’re in free fall. When you then walk into your consultants office for those results, it’s like you’re pulling that cord for the parachute and you’re just praying that parachute is going to open.”