My name is Sandy, I am 62 years old living in Perth, married with two children, and four grandchildren.
I was diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2011, where I had carcinoid tumors in my chest and right lung. After having the annual flu jab at work, I had the flu and a cough that wouldn’t go away. I went to see my doctor and was sent off for a precautionary x-ray. The x-ray revealed a mass which turned out to be tumours in my chest and lungs.
When I first found out about my diagnosis I was numb, shocked, angry and sad all at the same time. Anyone who has been in a similar situation would know what the feeling is like. My family was also in shock. The hardest part was telling my children. Naturally as a mum you want to protect them from any bad news.
My treatment was surgery to remove the tumors as my surgeon told me it was my only option; this resulted in the loss of my right lung. Following the surgery, I had a persistent cough for about nine months and I have had to learn to breathe using one lung.
My daily life has changed. I can still do most things I used to enjoy doing but at a slower pace and I consciously have to remember to breathe.
My continued survival is mainly due to early detection, successful surgery and the follow up care I received from cancer nurses and my family.
My advice is to stay focused, listen to your medical team and remain positive throughout your treatment. Don’t sweat the small stuff, laugh every day, remember who you are and where you are going. Don’t look back we are not going that way!
I have met some wonderful people throughout my journey who still support me. Together with my friends and family we have successfully held several fundraisers – initially with calendars, followed by fashion shows, stalls and raffles.
I am inspired by my hubby Pete, my children and grandchildren, friends and the ongoing support from my cancer nurses and Lung Foundation Australia.
Cancer is only a word but we are all afraid of it so let’s beat this together.