I’ve mentioned ‘luck’ a few times in the past month following some more ‘cancerversary’ milestones – these tend to make me reflect on my experience. Even though I was metastatic at diagnosis, I think of myself as lucky on the basis that my tumours were found by ‘chance’, or to be more accurate, found following an innocuous set of circumstances. Click here to hear me talk about my diagnosis.
As we know, Neuroendocrine Cancer can sometimes be very difficult to discover and diagnose. However, sometimes with a bit of luck or a chance event, it can be intercepted and can then often lead to a much better outlook for the person concerned. But sometimes there is also a cost and I don’t just mean financial (although that is also a very real problem). Despite me thinking I had been lucky, the ‘little suckers’ had burrowed their way into many places and I now deal with those consequences following significant treatment to get rid of as many as possible.
With my blogging and advocate activity, I get to hear other people’s stories, some of which have tweaked my emotions from ‘man style leaky eyes’ to wide-eyed surprise and astonishment, but very occasionally with smiles. I had one such exchange with Mary who subsequently agreed to let me use her story which immediately caught my eye because it not only triggered a wide range of emotions, but made me reflect on the cost aspect I described above.
Mary’s is a lung NET patient and her tumour was caught early. Although it was a totally chance discovery, it was in really unfortunate circumstances. Her brother Dan was fighting leukaemia and needed a life saving stem cell transplant. During the checks for her suitability as a donor, the lung NET was discovered. Clearly a very worrying time for Mary as she had gone to the hospital to try to save her brother’s life and ended up being admitted with her own cancer diagnosis and was therefore unable to take any part in the donation. I cannot begin to imagine how that felt for the whole family. Fortunately Mary’s sister was also found suitable and was able to donate, Their brother later had a successful transplant but unfortunately his cancer recurred and he passed away a short while later.
That’s an amazing albeit sad story but it invokes a wide range of emotions. It’s also a very inspiring story about a family coming together in time of crisis. Mary went to hospital that day to try to save Dan’s life and despite her own diagnosis, she still felt guilty that she was unable to fulfil that task. However, before his passing, Dan let it be known that he must have gotten sick to save her life. That’s a heart-warming thought – RIP Dan.
I’m very thankful to Mary who agreed to let me publish her story here. It was actually featured a couple of years ago in their local newspaper – you can read it here – <Click here>
I’d love to hear from others who had a lucky or chance tumour find.
Thanks for reading
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