Page 5 - Inspire Autumn/Winter Edition 2017
P. 5

She Saved Me

        “But Karen couldn’t find me an appointment with my        “So the following week, I had surgery. They took out
        usual doctor before my holiday.                           one lobe of my lung and the associated lymph nodes.
                                                                  Only after they did biopsy tests on the tissue they took,
        “I would have just left it, but she insisted that a cough   were they able to confirm that it was lung cancer – and
        like mine should be looked into so she squeezed me in     that they’d got it all.
        to see another doctor at a different surgery and that is
        where I got lucky.                                        “Karen made it possible for me to say to my daughter,
                                                                  ‘You’re not going to lose another parent to lung cancer.’
        “The doctor I saw was sufficiently concerned to send      I can’t thank her enough.”
        me for a chest X-ray which showed up something that
        shouldn’t have been there. So they sent me for another    Shan now has regular check-ups and the medical team
        X-ray, and at that point the system really started to     will continue to monitor her progress for the next five
        swing into action. I had CT scans and a biopsy and it     years. She takes part in our online forum, replying to
        started to look more and more likely that it was lung     posts about surgery and treatments similar to her own.
        cancer.                                                   She’s come a long way in the past couple of years and

        “I realised from the  “ Karen made it possible for me              she knows how much she owes to the
        way the doctor                                                     woman whose diligence paved the way for the
        spoke to me that            to say to my daughter,                 rest of her lung cancer journey. Yet she had
        she thought it was    ‘You’re not going to lose another  never met up with the receptionist – or, to
        serious. I had a            parent to lung cancer.’                use the proper job title, Patient Services
        tumour, but there         I can’t thank her enough.                Advisor – who went the extra mile to arrange
        could have been                                            ”       an appointment with the doctor that fateful
        various reasons for it. It still wasn’t conclusive.                day. Never, that is, until August of this year,
                                                                  when she finally sat down for a cup of tea and a chat
        “It was a long process and a worrying time, both for      with Karen Gibson.
        me and for my partner. It became so disruptive to our
        normal lives that we just cancelled everything and put    Karen lost a much loved relative to cancer a few
        life on hold until we knew for sure.                      months before Shan came into the surgery – a loss,
                                                                  she thinks, which may have made her extra aware of
        “The most awful part of it all was thinking about my      the need to have seemingly minor symptoms checked
        daughter, because her father had died of lung cancer the   out properly.
        year before and she had looked after him for months
        before he passed away. I just couldn’t face the thought of   “I can remember Shan coming in. A lot of people were
        having to tell her about my own illness.                  coming in at that time with bad lung infections, it went
                                                                  on for about three or four months – we had a lot of
        “But I reasoned with myself that I was actually feeling   calls. But there was something in the back of my mind.
        ok; I had no idea there’d been anything wrong with me     It’s just instinct.
        whereas he’d been noticeably ill for three or four years
        before he died. So, hopefully, they had caught mine early   “It could have been any one of us. Like they say in the
        and it would have a different outcome – which it did,     ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign, we know if someone’s
        completely different.                                     had a cough for that long, they need to be seen. So
                                                                  when I knew she was going away on holiday, I knew we
        “I was referred to the surgical team at St James’s        had to get her sorted. So it was a case of finding a
        Hospital in Leeds, where the doctors outlined different   doctor who could see her soon enough.
        treatment options, with all the advantages and
        disadvantages. I thought that losing a chunk of my lung   “It feels strange to know that what I did made such a
        would leave me permanently disabled.                      difference!”

        “I thought about it all, and when I spoke to the          You can make a difference too.
        radiographer the following week, he passed on the         Your support means we can continue to fund our
        thought that, if it was him, he wouldn’t hesitate –       Lung Health MOT Check and keep saving lives.
        he’d have the operation.

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