Previously I mentioned in my previous blog about my mum being diagnosed with lung cancer. This was one of the biggest things I have had to deal with in my life. It was a shock to us all. It began with her saying that she was suffering with heartburn which then developed further in a matter of hours into a pain in her left side. We wanted to take her to the Walk-In Centre or A&E but she was having none of it (the last time she was in the hospital for herself was when she gave birth to my brother) and she thought she could sleep it off as she felt really tired too so I gave her a couple of hours, called back and she said that it was time to go A&E as she started coughing up blood! We rushed her into A&E and everything moved quickly from there. She stayed in over the weekend after having different tests. More tests were ordered as they found a shadow on her left lung then on the 2nd October 2014, my brothers 24th birthday, she found out that she had lung cancer. It was inoperable as it was small cell cancer and they said it was aggressive and can spread quickly so treatment must start ASAP. I broke down in that room and the feeling I had is indescribable. Mum said she will fight this all the way and she is thankful for the length of time she has been alive. She said, for ever year that she has lived over her mum has been a bonus; 10 years! She packed in smoking straight away as this is the main cause for this; she wishes that she did it sooner.
Soon enough treatment plans came through and chemotherapy was first in line. Anyone who knows my mum will tell you that she is hard as nails, nothing phases her and she will tell you how it is so going though this was just the same. Sat in the waiting room in Clatterbridge, the people flooded in! I was shocked to see the amount of people who were there to be treated or have their bloods done ready to be told that they were ok to go ahead with their chemotherapy session. We went to the cubical that they told us to and as we was 1st in, mum had the choice of seat; straight to the window, next to the radiator and close to the TV with Smooth FM playing aloud. She took the 1st session on the chin! We had a laugh as she was singing away with the radio and was learning to text properly so she could bulk text her mates in work! We had a packed lunch too, to keep us going of course 😉
The cycles were every 3 weeks for chemotherapy and there were new people every time she was due to have her session. She brightened everyones day from the nurses to the patients just because of her positive attitude, her ‘amazing’ singing voice and her caring nature. There was one lady who requested to be with my mum when she was due to have her chemotherapy again!
By her 2nd lot of chemotherapy, she was given 3 weeks of radiotherapy with just the weekends off. This was to target the lung. Again, you would meet new people and see the flocks of patients coming in and out of the clinics. Her first day on radiotherapy, she was in the room for ages, this was because they could see a difference in her lung already from one chemotherapy session! Amazing! Mum took this on the chin and ‘back heeled’ it as she would tell everyone. Although she had the sickness and felt her body slowing down, it didn’t stop her from being out every day.
As her 4th and last chemotherapy session finished, it was Christmas week and her one main wish was to be able to taste her Christmas Dinner, thankfully she could! She had a break over Christmas and New Year from the treatment and was waiting to hear about the preventative radiotherapy on her brain. This was 2 weeks of more intense treatment and this was the worst of it all. Her hair was just starting to come back but this was to be lost again (this wasn’t a worry for her though), sickness was high, tiredness took over her body and her taste buds were shot. The machine she was on would lock her into place with this mesh mask that was put over you. You couldn’t move with it and for anyone who suffers with claustrophobia, it would be your worst nightmare. She got through it though which is the main thing.
Moving forward, she was called to have another scan to see how the treatment has gone and to see what the cancer is like. The consultant shouted her name and before we walked in mum said “whatever he says we will get though it”. The scan of the lungs before and the lungs after were on the screen. We had never seen these before as mum didn’t want to know or see anything, just for them to do what they can to help her get better. Well they did just that! The lung before was a 3rd full with this tumour and the one after looked as if it had been cut out completely; it had shrunk to nothing! We are still amazed today!
She isn’t out of the woods yet though as she needs to have check ups and scans every 4 months to be monitored and she has to build up her strength too. Her current diet consists of Cornflakes, Starburst, Vimto cordial and chips and gravy from the Chipmonk! She’s been told that her tastebuds and hair may not come back, her short term memory may be affected and headaches may be quite frequent but she said that’s the price I am willing to pay to be given a second chance at life.
Thanks goes out to The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre from the management and nurses to the volunteers, her consultant Dr Haridass, Macmillan and Cancer Research. If you didn’t do what you do then this may never have happened. Thank you.