Grandmother had 27cm tumor
Reprinted from the Huddersfield Examiner (UK)
SHE PRAYED she would live to see her children grow up.
Now, Jenny Coupland has just celebrated her 60th birthday after surviving THREE cancer fights.
The Longwood grandmother is living life to the full after 30 years of battling an illness doctors thought would kill her.
The mum-of-three has endured a hysterectomy, lost the majority of her lung and had a 27cm tumour removed in a bid to beat cancer.
Now she has nothing but praise for the medics who have given her the chance of life.
Jenny, of Ayton Road, said: “When you hear the words ‘you have got cancer’, your world comes tumbling down. You always imagine the worst.
“But I have always seen it as a challenge and tried to be positive.
“I was not brought up Christian, but I started to believe in God after my first cancer scare.
“I prayed for five years that I would live until my youngest daughter – who was three at the time – was at least eight and would have some memories of me.
“I’m very lucky that I got a lot longer.”
Jenny – originally from Edgerton – was just 30 when medics first discovered she was suffering cancer.
A routine hysterectomy due to fibroids showed cancerous cells had been growing around her uterus – called endometrial stromal sarcoma.
She was immediately given radiotherapy for the condition and luckily no further signs to suggest the cancer had spread were found.
For years she lived a normal life until 1998 when she started coughing-up phlegm containing small traces of blood.
She said: “I was very ignorant about it and didn't bother getting it checked out.
“Then in the September, I coughed up what I can only describe as a big scab, like a clot. I thought then I had better go to the doctors.”
A chest x-ray, followed by an endoscopy investigation and a biopsy to remove tissue confirmed she had developed a secondary tumour the size of a 10-pence piece on her right lung.
In December 1998, she had major surgery to remove the cancer and in February 1999 had two parts of her right lung taken away.
Just as she was recovering from the operation, she began to experience difficulty passing urine and a burning sensation when she was lying down.
Jenny said: “I was literally trying to sleep standing up because it was so painful when I laid down.”
She was eventually referred for a scan which revealed a tumour measuring 27cm by 10cm by 15cm growing inside her.
She said: “I was told it was the size of a six-month pregnancy. It was cancerous and unfortunately they couldn't remove all of it because some of it was growing on my urethra – the tube between your kidneys and your bladder.
“I was told it was terminal.
“A consultant said they would try a few things but they weren't sure if they would work.”
Jenny had been taking hormone replacement therapy for many years due to problems with her thyroid and the brittle bone condition osteoporosis.
Medics urged her to continue the treatment to save her bones, but she was adamant the hormones could be making the cancer worse.
She said: “I was sure the HRT was making it worse and was feeding it.
“In the 12 months after the operation to remove the tumour, it grew from 1cm to 4cm again. I stopped taking the HRT because I thought what was the point if this cancer was going to kill me?
“When I stopped taking HRT, the tumour stopped growing.”
Another consultant suggested putting Jenny on medication for breast cancer patients which stops the body producing hormones .
The drugs – called Arimidex – made the tumour shrink. Latest CT scans show her tumour has now disappeared.
Jenny, who lives with husband Garry, said: “I think it is stopping the hormones that has done it.
“Because of all the treatment I have had, I have got other things wrong with me like Coeliac, Type 2 diabetes, hyperthyroid and osteoarthritis. But without it I wouldn’t be here.
“I believe in God’s will and think when the pain gets too much for me, he will take me.”
She said her three brushes with death have given her a new-found appreciation for life.
She added: “It changed me and I now appreciate nature more and am not bothered about things like make-up or jewellery. It is just not worth the energy.”