So I've just had my 1st Cancerversary, in that I was diagnosed with stage 3b lung cancer on the 12th May last year, I thought i'd share a couple of things i've learnt for the benefit of someone who may be in the same position I was a year ago.
Point 1: If you have surgery don't assume you'll be out running a marathon after a couple of months, At the time of my surgery in June I was pretty fit (I used to run 10k every day of the week) but I don't think I was as healed up as i'll ever be until January. Be patient.
Point 2: My experience of radiotherapy and chemotherapy wasn't that bad, My view is that if you are fit and healthy going in, you'll probably be ok.
Point 3: Look into an integrated therapy approach. Your oncologist will tell you its a waste of time, but its your body, your disease so make you own mind up. A good starting point is the Jane McClelland book "How to starve Cancer", it might be total rubbish but at the very least I wanted to be lying on my death bed knowing that I gave everything a shot. This isn't an advert for the book or the Care Oncology Clinic, but certainly look into it to decide if its for you or not.
Point 4: Don't assume you are stuck with the Oncologist that the NHS assign you, (you may be when you are undergoing treatment, but after that you can shop around). Ask your oncologist what their specialism is (mine was breast cancer, which wasn't much help) and go to your GP and say "if you were diagnosed with Lung cancer, who would you go and see", It's very easy to get the details of an oncologist you've heard good things about, call their secretary and ask if you can be added to their list.
Point 5: Make sure your Oncologist has run the tests to see if immunotherapy will work AND more importantly the tests to see if there are any mutations that targeted therapy with work on. My first oncologist didn't bother with the latter, (at the shock of my second oncologist) and I'm lucky in that there is a mutation so I have targeted therapy in my back pocket should it reoccur.
Point 6: Try not to focus on stats, (easier said than done), they are by definition 5 years out of date, and you've no idea the dataset used, each cancer is different, you can be lucky or unlucky. A better idea is to google "improvements in lung cancer statistics" and you get a load of articles about how doctors are getting better year on year at treating this stuff.
Point 7: Build your network either on this site, instagram, twitter or whereever. Find people who are going through the same thing as you and chat to them, share info, ask them how they are getting on etc etc.
So There's my pearls of wisdom, my hope is i'll look back on my cancer journey as just something that dominated my life for a while when I was in my late forties and will make me more grateful of the years to come.