Almost eight years on from being diagnosed with lung cancer, Jackie Hugill has spoken of her ‘eternal gratitude’ that she got her persistent cough checked when she did.
Jackie, 65, who lives in Edinburgh, was referred by her GP in June 2014 for x-rays, and a CT scan followed, which detected a carcinoid tumour on her right lung.
Doctors initially thought they would only need to remove the lower lobe of Jackie’s lung however during the surgery they noticed the tumour was protruding into the lung’s upper lobe so the decision was made to remove her right lung completely.
Jackie admits that the impact of her diagnosis and surgery on her and her family was huge and recalls being ‘devastated’ hearing that her lung had been removed after surgery, as someone who enjoyed a fit and active lifestyle.
But the mother of two, who is now ‘mamma’ to grandchildren Lena and Jacob, lives a full, busy life and admits she can’t believe how fit she is with just one lung.
“I always remark that people wouldn’t know what had happened to me unless I told them, and I really don’t think about it day to day. I live a normal life like everyone else and have my health.
“My worry was that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the same active lifestyle I had before the diagnosis, but I still have a good level of fitness. I was doing spin classes before the pandemic, and although covid definitely knocked my confidence a bit, I hope to get back to it in time.
“Life is great. We moved from Aberdeenshire in 2019 to be nearer to my daughter for the birth of our second grandchild and it’s amazing to be such a big part of their lives and watch them grow.”
Speaking about the importance of not ignoring a potential sign or symptom, Jackie said:
“I’ve coughed all my life, I still have a cough, but it was a different cough. I was on holiday with a friend who noticed it and made me promise I’d get it checked when I got home.
“Looking back, I went because I didn’t think it was anything, but I am eternally grateful I made that appointment.
“Everything that followed was incredibly scary, but the sooner you know, the sooner you can deal with what’s ahead and prepare yourself. The not knowing is the hard bit and taking that first step can put your mind at rest if nothing else.
“Because I was diagnosed when I was, and successfully treated with surgery, I have my whole life ahead of me and am looking forward to enjoying retirement with my husband Steve. I am living proof that a diagnosis isn’t always bad.”