Big Hello to my American Cousins,
Relax my name is not a statement of my political persuasion but a nickname one of my work colleagues gave
me years ago.My name is Eric Byrne I am Scottish, 60 years young,
married to Sally with a grown up daughter Jennifer,who is an actress(check out her web site in google,shes the one from Glasgow)
In October 2008 I developed a slight cough I also would find traces
of blood in my handkerchief after blowing my nose,I ignored this,but my
daughter, unknown to me made an appointment for me to attend my doctor,she found my chest a s clear as a bell,but just to please my daughter,she arranged
for me to have a chest x-ray.Following my x-ray,I was requested to
attend my doctors surgery,for feedback on my results,standard
procedure thought I,nothing to concern me.Entering the doctors surgery
he told me that my upper right lung had deflated,collapsed,totally
puzzled I enquired,what could cause this?Do you smoke? he asked.
No need for further conversation,I had been struck with a
thunderbolt,a thousand questions flooded into my brain,Lung Cancer ?
a death sentence ,why me? I didnt even smoke until my late twenties,
not even cigarettes,just small cigars of the mild variety.I looked at the
doctor,he was so relaxed, so at ease with himself,so lacking in empathy,
you would have thought he was talking to a turnip.He suggested further
tests,this may take some time,desparation creeping in on me,would going
private, speed things up I asked,yes he said but it could be expensive.
I drove home in a dream,broke the bad news to my wife and
daughter,I still had some hope that the tests may come up with some
less serious reason for my collapsed lung.Alas no,following my tests
my results confirmed I had a cancerous tumour in my upper right lung.
My treatment consisted of four cycles of neo-adjuvant chemotherapy ,a
cocktail they dont serve in any bar, called sysplatin and vinorobean,this
was fed into me intraveneously over a twelve hour period.Thanks to
the conversations I shared with other patients,this time passed quicky,
in fact I started to look forward to my chemo sessions.It always amazed
me,how many patients whose situation was worse than mine,are able
to look at the world and smile,when I compared myself to them,I always
came up short.
My wife worked full time,and would leave me some household chores to do,it was not enough to fill my day,I did go for walks,but I
was missing human company,Ineed to get back to work,so I went to
my doctor tell him my intentions,he asked me if my work is being covered,yes I replied,well let them get on with it and spend some
quality time with your wife,since you only have two years left(better get on with this letter)he added he had one prior patient who survived five years with lung cancer,what a character,but you are not him .When I recounted this to my oncologist,he was visibly shocked and said why would your doctor say this ,there are sometimes I despair for my
I sailed through the chemo without any side effects,not even
nausea.Feedback from my oncologist,that in all his years dealing with
lung cancer he had never seen such shrinkage in a tumour,and that
after only two cycles,he confirmed my suitability for sugery.
Dr Lumsden then went on to tell me that another hot spot
was identified by my pet scan,it was in my bowel,probably innocuous
he said,dont worry about it we will deal with this after your operation
in January 2009.However unknown to him,I was requested to attend
hospital on 23rd December for a colonoscapy,following the procedure
the doctor leaned over me and announced I cancer of the bowel.Panic,
that cannot be true my oncologist said lung cancer dosnt spread to the bowel,unless its another primary,well thats true but you do have another
primary its rare but it does happen,I will not operate on you until I am
convinced your lung operation was successful,I dont want to waste my
time.I left the hospital in a cloud,myself and family spent the worst Christmas you ever you could imagine.Early in January I received news
from the hospital that my bowel biopsy showed no cancer cells.Boy did
that cheer me up and in good time for my operation.
The operation was deemed successful,the surgeon did not
remove all my lung,just less than half, also one nearest lymph node.
My lung nurse came to my home a explained to me how the operation went ,to my wifes horror I asked her about buying a new
pair of black shoes,was it worth it in view of the time I have left.Eric
she said,I expect to come back in ten years to visit you.
The hospital requested my appearance with the bowel
surgeon,who described his intention to open me up on my left side
cut my bowel either side of the polyp remove it and rejoin my bowel,
if the cancer has sread he may have to exercise more of the bowel.
I woke after the operation,to feel my left side,nothing! no dressings?
surgeon arrives to tell me he was able to exercise my polyp from my
back passage,and how lucky I was,it was the size of a golf ball and if
left for anthor year I would have probably killed me.Thanks to my
lung cancer and having that pet scan-who knows?.Subsequent
tests of my polyp confirmed it was the most benign of the benign.
I returned to my work in March 2009,as a Senior Lecturer
in Design and Construction in a College of Further Education.On
arriving in my classroom my third year students were present and
asked me if have returned,I said Iam back for good,they burst into
a round of applause,which I can still hear to-day.
I am now back at work almost a year,I am blessed with good
health,and hoping to prove to my doubting doctor I am staying put
not for two years or five years,I think Ill stay for twenty, god willing.
Thank you if youve read this far,
To read my story, please follow the link : http://lungevity.org/l_community/viewtopic.php?t=43268