23rd June 2021

Pat Spotted the Difference

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Pat was very reluctant to go to her GP because of fatigue. After all, who isn’t tired nowdays?! But Pat knew how she was feeling wasn’t right for her and so made an appointment. Her blood tests coming back all-clear. However, Pat was persistent and kept going back to her doctor, especially when she then developed a sore shoulder and was getting out of breath. It was then that she was sent for an x-ray and this was the start of her early diagnosis.

“I was just tired. Constantly tired. More tired than I knew I should be. I was working just 20 hours a week. My husband and daughter were working abroad,. My son lived with his girlfriend. There was absolutely no need for me to be this tired. It was very unusual for me.

This had been going on for over six months. I’d been tired right through the summer months, which was unusual for me. I think people can be more tired in the winter, but in the summer, you usually get a spring in your step, that extra bit of energy but I didn’t.

Initially, I put it down to working on a computer and staring at a screen – albeit for 20 hours a week. Then I thought maybe my age – being 56 – had something to do with it. I think women of my age are generally quite tired! But it got to the stage where it was really having an impact on my life so, reluctantly I went to the doctor.

I was very reluctant to go to the doctor because it just felt so trivial. I felt like they’d just laugh me out of the office. There’s lots of people who are really ill going to the doctor and I just thought I’m wasting their time. However, they listened to my symptoms and set me for blood tests.

The blood test came back clear so I continued to put up with the fatigue for a couple of months. However, I then spotted my shoulder was quite sore and I was also getting out of breath more easily so I went back to my doctor.

They referred me for physio and also for an x-ray. I presumed it was an x-ray on my shoulder but when I went to the hospital, I found out it was a chest x-ray. I thought it was pointless x-raying my chest when it was my shoulder that hurt. In fact, I almost left but thankfully I didn’t. By the time I’d got home, the doctor was ringing me up saying that they’ve found something – a shadow on my left lung – and I needed to go up to have a CT scan. It was from that that I was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Straightaway, after I was diagnosed, I was told it was curable. I could have an operation and have it removed, hopefully, by keyhole surgery. And that’s exactly what happened. On 15th April 2015, I had keyhole surgery on my left lobe and had the cancer taken out. That was on a Friday, and by the Monday, I was home. Everything was fine. Everything went really, really well.

I’m now six years all-clear and it feels like a distant memory. I feel like I just had an operation. I don’t’ feel like I had cancer. I just felt like I went into hospital, had something taken out and that was that. I’m ok again.”