One MUM person who blamed her cough on Covid then had to tell her daughter “Mom is going to heaven”.
The heartbreaking truth behind Becky Davis’ symptoms means she has only a very limited time left with her young daughter, Lexi, six.
Becky, 36, of Redditch, Worcestershire, went blind due to a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer in July 2020.
Still in shock, Becky said: “I never thought it would happen to me. I was so young. I don’t smoke.”
“I couldn’t understand it at first. But I wanted people to know that any of us can get cancer. It can happen to anyone.
“I don’t know how long I have left.”
Chemotherapy didn’t work for her form of the disease, so Becky’s family had to pay £16,000 for her “last shot” at private treatment that could have extended her life.
Becky, a single parent, said: “I told Lexi right away. I don’t believe in heaven, but the idea seemed to give her some consolation.
“So now she knows Mom is going to heaven. But she thinks she can go up there and visit me.
“I don’t want to deprive her of her virginity, but we still talk about it often. I told her I had cancer and I wouldn’t be here forever. I want her to know what’s coming.”
When Becky’s cough started in January 2020, she thought it was a quasi-infection.
But it quickly took a turn for the worse and began to interfere with her daily life.
The manager said: “I had a cough. I will be sick. It’s too bad.”
It wasn’t long before the pandemic hit and Becky believed she had Covid. She also had symptoms of fatigue, weight loss and feeling the need to clear her throat constantly.
Becky said: ‘I’ve done that, a lot of tests but all came back negative.
“I’m in the supermarket, for an hour a day outside, and people stare at me when I break in.”
With tight restrictions keeping people apart, Becky was only able to speak with her GP by phone in April.
The worst call
She said: “I think the pandemic may have affected the way things ended for me.
“I couldn’t see anyone, no one could hear my chest. I kept getting on the phone, being prescribed more antibiotics, and then walking away.”
“During that time, my cough got worse and worse.”
Finally, after being sent for further examination at the hospital, Becky received an alarm call from her doctor in July 2020 while at work.
“They told me there was a tumor in my right lung,” she recalls. I said, ‘Are you talking about cancer?’ She said, ‘It could be.’
“I was just hysterical. I had a five-year-old to think.”
Becky then had a biopsy which confirmed she had stage 4 ALK-positive lung cancer.
This cancer, which causes 5% of the total lung cancer cases, are due to abnormal rearrangements of genes.
The majority of people with the disease, like Becky, are non-smokers. It can be shocking to consider smoking as the number one cause of lung cancer.
Most ALK patients are female, and half of those diagnosed are under the age of 50.
Becky said: “I stayed up all night reading about this cancer and it finally made sense.
“Then I hope I have years, not months. That’s some reassurance.”
Chemotherapy wasn’t effective for Becky’s disease.
She had tried two separate forms of medicine aimed at controlling her condition and prolonging her life, but neither of them worked for her.
Her cancer was initially in both lungs, some lymph nodes and breast bone.
It’s now clear everywhere but her right lung, where there’s progress.
Becky said she hopes she has many more years, “but all I can do is wait and see”.
I stayed up all night reading about this cancer and it finally made sense.
“I have blood tests every four weeks and scans every three months,” she said.
Becky hopes that treatment with stereotactic ablation radiation therapy (SABR) will prolong her life.
The therapy involves small, fine beams of radiation that are directed from different angles to the tumor, which means it will have a high dose.
Sadly, Becky was told it wasn’t available to her on the NHS at her stage, so her family raised £16,000 to fund a course of treatment.
“I have four more SABR sessions over the next few weeks,” she said. Then I’ll need to wait three months to see if it works.
“There will be no cure. Not at this point. All I can hope for is that it gives me more time with Lexi.
“There is no money for further treatment later on, so this is it. My last shot”.
Becky no longer works, so she can spend every free moment possible with her daughter as a souvenir.
She said, “We used to be really active together. I can’t do much now, as all my treatments have side effects, so we spend time at home.
“We like little things like making crafts. We’ll make t-shirts, decorate mugs, things like that.
“Lexi loves to do things and I know we’re really creating memories at the same time – moments that she can cherish while Mom is in heaven.”
Becky is supporting the important work of Cancer Research UK. To play your part and help support research that will beat cancer, visit www.cruk.org.
ALK-positive lung cancer: The truth
Symptoms of ALK-positive lung cancer are:
- a cough that doesn’t go away
- Chest pain that gets worse when you cough or laugh
- short of breath
- a hoarse voice
- lose weight without trying
- feeling weak or tired
ALK-positive lung cancers account for about 5% of all lung cancers.
However, about 30% of people diagnosed with lung cancer under the age of 40 have ALK-positive cancer.
Half of ALK-positive lung cancer patients are under 50 years of age.
While smoking is the major cause of lung cancer cases, most ALK-positive cancer patients are non-smokers.
ALK-positive lung cancer occurs when part of the ALK gene breaks down and attaches to another gene, creating a fusion.
ALK combines with the EML4 gene, resulting in an EML4-ALK oncogene fusion. An oncogene is a mutated gene that can cause cancer cells.
If you have cancer with an “ALK rearrangement,” part of your ALK gene is mutated, leading to uncontrolled cell multiplication—cancer.
ALK-positive lung cancer responds very well to a class of targeted drugs called ALK inhibitors, and chemotherapy also works against this cancer.
But how well the drug works depends on the stage of the cancer, with survival rates plummeting for those diagnosed at a late stage.
https://www.thesun.ie/health/8204989/blamed-cough-covid-but-truth-cancer-mummy-heaven/ I blamed my cough on Covid but the heartbreaking truth meant I had to tell my daughter ‘Mom is going to heaven’