16th April 2024

The turning point in my lung cancer experience

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It was a bleak February when Caroline first logged on to our post-surgery online support session. Hesitant at first, our lung cancer support group turned out to be a key moment in helping her move past her diagnosis and treatment.

“I don’t think I’m alone in feeling quite apprehensive before attending the first session of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s online support group. Things like this can be a little daunting, especially as I found it difficult to put into words the illness that had turned my life upside down.

“However, as nervous as I was, I now just feel so lucky that I had the opportunity to be part of it.

Our world was thrown upside down

“My lung cancer diagnosis came as a complete shock. I was undergoing a lengthy investigation into possible asthma or a lung infection. I had never smoked, always eaten sensibly and was an avid hill walking so lung cancer never really crossed my mind.

“Fortunately, I was caught early and had a lower left lobectomy, which went well. This was then followed up with four rounds of adjuvant chemotherapy.

“At the same time, my husband was unexpectedly diagnosed with bowel cancer. Our worlds were thrown upside down. Everything felt out of control, and I felt so anxious. Thankfully, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation stepped in and provided the most incredible support.

It was after an all too frequent scared and sleepless night, worrying about the latest scan or test result, that I first got in touch. Being able to call the Ask the Nurse helpline in the morning and speak to a calm and knowledge nurse was invaluable. It helped me understand what was happening and be able to prepare for what came next.

“It was then that I learnt about the different online support group the charity offer, including one specifically for people post-surgery. At that point in time, I didn’t know anyone else with lung cancer and, even though I have a wonderfully supportive family and friends, I was feeling very isolated with my experiences, so I signed up and waited nervously for the first session.

The turning point

“The facilitator introduced the session and we each talked briefly about our own situation – although there was no pressure to talk if you didn’t want to.

“Conversations, gently guided by the facilitator, covered so many relevant topics. We shared our frustrations and learnt how others had dealt with similar setbacks. I learnt a great deal about the practicalities of recovery and was spurred on by others’ achievements.

“It’s hard to believe now that I had any apprehension about going and soon, I started to really look forward to the sessions and the fact that it was online made it so much easier to access than any similar face-to-face group.

“It was really inspirational to ‘meet’ the others in the group, to hear about their challenges and how they were coping. Listening to others in similar circumstances and hearing their experiences was so encouraging.

“I would go as far as to say this group was a real turning point in being able to move forward post lung cancer and I’d encourage anyone in a similar situation to sign up immediately!”

We offer a number of online support sessions, each focusing on a different aspect of lung cancer. For more information about current sessions or to sign up, please click here.