Skip to main content

Meet Jackie.

To prepare for surgery Jackie attended physiotherapy classes on board our Mobile Support Unit.

I was first diagnosed with cancer 23 years ago. I was checking my breasts one day when I found a lump about the size of a pea. A mammogram and two needle biopsies came back as inconclusive but postoperative tests showed it had been cancerous.

I was in shock in the recovery room because I really hadn’t thought it was cancer until that point. After a diagnosis, it’s always in the back of your mind, even after 23 years. If I feel a twinge of pain I’ll find myself thinking about brain tumours and all sorts, so it’s been difficult.

I’ve been a smoker since I was 14 and I’ve always suffered with my chest, but in March 2019 I developed a chest infection that somehow felt different. I seemed to have permanent cough, and having trouble through the night as well, which wasn’t normal for me.

I visited a GP three times in the weeks that followed. I was being prescribed antibiotics each time but on the fourth visit they suggested I should have my chest scanned. An X-ray found a tumour in my lung, and that lead to breathing tests and scans to check for anything else.

I quit smoking and started walking more to get fit enough to have surgery. After an assessment in Moriston Hospital in Swansea, I was referred to a physiotherapy class for lung cancer patients on Tenovus Cancer Care’s Mobile Support Unit in Bridgend. The unit is really impressive, it’s close to my home and the class was brilliant!

I was able to chat to other people who were facing, or had been on the same journey as me which was great. Someone I met there was having his operation on the same day as me and it was very reassuring to meet others who were recovering well after having surgery.

The operation removed half my lung to take away the lump and surrounding tissue. I stayed on a high dependency ward for a week after the procedure and needed a drain fitted to remove air that had become trapped between my lungs and chest wall. I then needed four sessions of chemotherapy at Velindre Cancer Centre, lasting up to seven hours each.

My family struggled to come to terms with my diagnosis and they’ve found help through Tenovus Cancer Care too. The Support Line has been a big help; I know I can call if I need to, and if everything goes well with my treatment, I’ll be continuing my recovery exercises on their Mobile Support Unit.

Would you like to support people like Jackie?

If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, our free Support Line is there for you. Just call 0808 808 1010