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!