Patient stories

Debbie

In September 2017,

I found a swelling on my neck.

An appointment with the GP

I booked, for him to check.

 

Possibly just a swollen gland, he said,

Trying to put my mind at rest.

Probably just standard, I thought,

To have a full blood test.

 

As all the bloods were fine,

I thought this would be the end.

But, then a call to me,

A referral he would send.

 

A fast track two week wait

To see the ENT.

He examined and arranged

An MRI and Biopsy.

 

I was getting worried now,

On my mind every single day.

Oh, please let it be OK,

I would secretly pray.

 

Then on the 1st of November,

I went for the MRI.

So difficult to stay positive,

But, I really had to try.

 

There was a liquid in the lump,

Which was drained the next day.

Now, I hoped that it was just an infection

That in time would go away.

 

Results were inconclusive.

A PET scan now required.

I just couldn't think positive now,

No matter how I tried.

 

And on 5th December,

The nurse said she would call.

They had the scan results,

But wouldn't tell me at all.

 

Instead, they made an appointment

To attend hospital first thing.

Nothing could have prepared me

For the news that day would bring.

 

I'm so sorry, said the Doctor,

You have lung cancer… and more.

It's in your bones and your spine,

Making you Stage 4.

 

Surely, this couldn't be right.

Not 'Cancer', the dreaded word.

I looked at my partner, questioning

The words we had heard.

 

What would happen now?

Would it cause me to die?

How would I tell my family?

I wanted a reason why.

 

Why did this disease choose me?

What did I do wrong?

But, it can happen to anyone,

No matter where you're from.

 

I googled when I got home,

To see what I could find.

A prognosis of several months.

I was going out of my mind.

 

An appointment after Christmas

Finally brought us hope.

A chance my cancer was treatable,

As I had never smoked.

 

To find out the cancer type,

I had a biopsy on my lung.

Not the most pleasant test.

My journey had just begun.

 

The results then came back.

ALK Positive, I was told.

My cancer was therefore treatable.

Its growth can be controlled.

 

My Oncologist explained,

He would research a drug trial.

Its success was great

Only for a short while.

 

Good news, I'd been accepted.

I started it straight away.

'Alectinib' it is called

And I'm still taking it today.

 

This drug does have side effects,

Fatigue and muscular pain.

But, this drug, I was told,

Is the best at crossing the brain.

 

I had an MRI on my head

to make sure it was clear.

But, devastating news yet again,

Not what I wanted to hear.

 

They'd found some cancer spots

In the back of my brain.

Advised to surrender my licence

And not to drive again.

 

Sadly, I returned my licence

To the D.V.L.A.

The independence of driving

Had now been taken away.

 

A CT scan was later arranged

And, on the 3rd May,

Finally some good news

Was about to come my way.

 

The cancer had reduced in size.

'Significantly', they said to me.

Hopefully, I'll get a long run on this.

But, there is no guarantee.

 

I've had an MRI since.

The results were great again.

Reduction in the bones and lung,

Tumours tiny in the brain.

 

It's coming up a year now

Since my world was turned upside down.

But, somehow I got by,

With an inner strength I found.

 

I have a supportive partner,

Good friends and family too.

The news affected them deeply,

With nothing they could do.

 

When I was diagnosed,

Confused, I sat and wept.

I'm stronger now, although

It's still difficult to accept.

 

One year on now,

Since my journey had begun

I have no choice other than to fight it.

Otherwise, this cancer will have won.