As part of our World Cancer Day series, passionate advocate and campaigner, Jules Fielders, shares how her ‘magic medicine’ makes it possible to live well with stage 4 lung cancer.
“That moment, when I was first told I had stage four lung cancer, is still heartbreakingly clear to me. At that time, my knowledge of lung cancer was poor – at just 38 years old who had a pretty healthy lifestyle, it wasn’t something I thought I needed to be aware of.
“I remember thinking that my life was over, that I would be dead in a matter of weeks. I couldn’t be happier to be so wrong!
“I am now 14 months into my diagnosis and here I am, demonstrating there is life after a stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis. And that is because of the huge advances in understanding the different types of lung cancer and the best way to treat the disease.
“I have EGFR+ lung cancer and my best treatment is a targeted therapy called Osimertinib. I take just one 40mg tablet a day (plus additional tablets for pain relief) and it is working. I call it my magic medicine because it has put my cancer to sleep, allowing me to get on with living my life.
And I feel like I am really living now. I am so much more present. My senses are awake. I feel the wind when I walk. I hear every bird chirping in the morning.
“It’s sad that it took a critical illness to get me to this point, but I am here now. I have also been blessed with some amazing holidays since my diagnosis and long may they continue. I want to see more of this beautiful world we live in.
“It is important to say it took time for me to get this point, to be accepting of my diagnosis. I am also aware that one day my magic medicine will stop working but, with ongoing treatment advances, I take solace in the knowledge that there are already other treatment lines available to me and that more treatments being developed and trialled all the time.
“Equipping myself with that knowledge, and understanding my disease, has given me control over my diagnosis when, at the beginning, everything felt out of my control, and this gives me a huge amount of strength.
“I also get strength from my incredible family and friends, and from Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. The charity has been an amazing support to me. With its help, I have been able to use my voice to raise awareness of lung cancer in the younger generation, to challenge disease misconceptions and to advocate for women with lung cancer.
“Its website is a safe place for you to go to understand more about your type of lung cancer and the available treatments because the number one rule when you’re first diagnosed is don’t Google! It also has lots of stories from people with different types of lung cancer who are living with this disease. It is reassuring and it is hopeful.
“That’s why I continue to share my story and blog about my experience. Because there is hope. There is life after diagnosis, so I use social media to show the highs and lows of lung cancer – because that’s the reality and that’s what I want people to know this World Cancer Day.
“I want people who have just had a diagnosis to know this isn’t the end. I want them to know there are options. There is still laughter. There is still love. There is a still a life to live.”
You can follow Jules’s life with lung cancer – Just Being Jules – on Instagram