An Aberdeen man has spoken of his wife’s cancer battle and hailed her as a survivor to help highlight a new health campaign.
Iain Clark’s wife, Liz, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013 and the 65-year-old from Cults has spoken out to tell his My Survivor story as part of the Detect Cancer Early’s Survivor initiative.
Research indicates that fear of a cancer diagnosis stops some people from acting.
But the Detect Cancer Early Survivor movement shows more people are overcoming the disease than ever and being checked early plays a crucial role.
The campaign encourages people to share what a loved one’s cancer survival has meant to them by using #MySurvivor to tell their side of the story.
Liz, 62, was diagnosed after visiting her GP about a persistent cough that would not go away.
She was sent for further tests which revealed a malignant tumour in her right lung.
Iain said: “I instantly feared the worst.
“My first reaction was to think about the worst possible outcome. However, as time goes on and more and more tests are carried out, you gradually obtain more information each stage of the way and that makes things slightly easier.
“There were good days and bad days. Some days we’d get positive news, like when the MRI showed there was no evidence that the cancer had spread, then sometimes we’d get more bad news and it would all hit home again.
“I was constantly going between a state of hope and fear.”
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The mother of two ended up having her entire right lung removed as surgeons realised the procedure was more complicated than they had hoped.
Liz said: “Because they’d taken out the whole lung and the cancer hadn’t spread I didn’t need to have any subsequent treatment.
“It took me a while to fully recover and it became quite obvious as the months went on that I wouldn’t be able to go back to my work.
“I was a university lecturer, and because I was a lot more breathless than before, I knew I wouldn’t be able to lecture for hours at a time.
“I also used to do some work in schools, but I couldn’t risk picking up germs and bugs from the kids, so I had to take early retirement.
“Although I’m now very happily retired, it was a big thing for me to come to terms with.
“One minute you’re just going about your life as normal then the next you find out you’ve got cancer, you have to get your lung removed and then realise you won’t be able to go back to work.
“It happened so suddenly and I didn’t really get a chance to process it all.”
The couple have four grandchildren and Liz said she could not have managed without the support of her family.
Iain, who has been married to Liz for almost 42 years, said: “I really appreciate how much having her enhances my life.
“I feel so lucky I’m able to enjoy every moment with her and we can look forward to things together, like the holiday to New Zealand we’re going on later this month.
“I’m so grateful we can enjoy experiences like that together. Without Liz my life would be completely different.”