12 months ago today!

12 months ago today (by the date) I was in hospital undergoing surgery to determine what the mass was that had been showing up on my CT scan for the last 5 months. The mass everyone thought was pneumonia.

I woke up to be told it was cancer, adenocarcinoma, and it had been inoperable. The tumor itself was 11cms and was too close to the cardiac vessels and it had already spread. I remember thinking it was a dream (I was full of morphine though). I don't think it was until the next day that it really sunk in. I remember my sisters crying, my husband and my daughter trying so hard to be brave and my mum and dad devastated. My surgeon came to see me and told me not to give up hope as they had sent a specimen to be tested for a genetic mutation and if positive I would be able to have a new form of chemo therapy. He also told me to eat everything I could so I wouldn't lose too much weight and I would have the strength to fight. He said on average people lost about 3 stone!

Initially, I thought I can't fight if I'm not fit, so I did eat. I ate everything that was put in front of me and I lost a grand total of 0 pounds! I had my 50th birthday 3 weeks later, not the 50th celebration I had planned but special all the same, I was alive!

I had the all important oncology appointment that week. The one that would determine what treatment I was to have. I was positive for the EGFR mutation and could have the targeted chemotherapy! I felt a pang of sorrow however when I had to sign the consent form for 'palliative' treatment. I was told that this chemo was just supposed to stop the tumor growing, not to shrink it, but if It didn't grow it wouldn't spread. Within a few weeks I was no longer coughing, I was getting stronger and stronger, the pain meds were being reduced and I was able to do more and more for myself.

So what has happened in the last year? In May I had my first scan, the tumor had shrunk by 20%. In July I did the race for life-walking only but I did it in 50 minutes. We went to Majorca and Spain in the summer. We had 2 fancy dress parties in the garden. I joined the gym, our extension was completed (although I'm still waiting for rails in my walk in wardrobe) I went to Cannes and Monte Carlo. Second scan in October shows tumor is now immeasurable and has collapsed! I bought clothes and shoes I have always wanted (the 'one day I'll have one of those' kind of items). We had a lovely Christmas. We went to Jamaica (again!). I started fund raising for Roy Castle lcf and have been getting stuck into my hobbies!

What haven’t I done? I haven't been down in the dumps or sad. I feel blessed for every day I have and don't intend to waste anytime I have feeling down. Overall I've had a fantastic year and hope I will be hear this time next year to write an even longer blog!

7 Replies

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  • What an incredible, inspiring & positive story Lyn. I'm off to London today to talk about a lung cancer awareness campaign with the Department of Health and I think I'm going to tell them your story after reading this! Thanks for sharing with us and for everything you do. You really are an inspiration.

  • I agree with Emma, your story is so positive and inspirational. You are a one woman whirl wind with all the activies are are involved in and I am especially looking forward to your luncheon and the launch of the new Patient Support Group. See you soon and thank you!! Joanna x

  • Such a great outcome for you. The key apears to be timing. They took 6 months to confirm my mothers mutation after an op to remove a tumour that was in the end too close to the arteries but it was too late, she managed 2 days of the new drug and then we lost her. You have a fantastic and reassuring story to show that the outcome can be a good one. Keep enjoying life and never give up the fighting!!! wishing you well x Sam x

  • Thank you all for your lovely comments. The one thing I have learned is that we are not fighting this alone, there are some wonderful supportive people out there. I do believe that there is hope and I'll carry on fighting and helping others for as long as I can xx

  • Thank you lynba,

    You have given me hope! I have stage 4 inoperable lung cancer. The tumour in my right lung measures 4.5 x 3.5cm the one in my left measures 14mm x34mm plus a Few lesions on both, it has also affected my heart. I have Pericarditis. I have talked to my Oncologist today and we are waiting on the biopsy results to determine which palliative treatment I shall receive. He hopes to shrink the tumours as he said they can't irradicate all. Reading your blog has given me the hope I needed.

    I wish you lots of best wishes for the future. X

  • So pleased you have hope Georgie from reading my story.

    I am (as we speak in san Diego!) just flown in from San Fransisco, Vegas and Wisconcin before that, off to New York for 5 days in 5 days time before returning to the UK.

    I am assuming the biopsies are testing for the cancer type/ any gene mutation. I am also receiving palliative treatment and couldn't have radiotherapy. I have stage 4 adenocarcinoma, I tested postive for the EGFR mutation so I have targeted chemo (Iressa). It has now been 16 months since my diagnosis and at the moment I feel great!

    Wishing you all the best too,stay positive and let me know how you get on.

    Lyn X

  • You are quite a lady Lyn.

    As they say in my part of the world, "CHAPEAU" = I raise my hat to you (or I would if I wore one!). :-)

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