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IN People ON 15 Dec, 2015
Alisha Barnett, 28, who hails from south London, was going to be a bride soon. But, unfortunately she was diagnosed with lung cancer which is incurable.
She takes proper care of her health by regularly going to the gym and never smokes. Prior to the terminal diagnosis, she participated in 100-mile bike rides for charity once. In December 2014, when she visited the doctor due to cough, she was diagnosed with an advanced lung cancer at stage 4. Doctors revealed that though they aren't sure but, she has less than a decade of life left.
Now, she has to undergo chemotherapy sessions for life-long. Worse, she can't have children. But Barnett isn't broken at all. Despite the grave prediction, she says that she is looking forward to the plenty of life ahead. She works in London in asset management. She is tying the knot with her four years' partner, Jon Douglas, 31, on December 19. He had proposed to her in Paris, on Valentine's Day, 2015. She said, "Yes, I've been unlucky, but, I've been lucky in other aspects of my life. I don't have money or relationship worries. I have friends and family who care about me. If I am tired they notice."
She continued, "They make me dinner all the time and look after me. The only thing I have to focus on is staying well. The doctors can't give a deadline - some people have survived ten years. However, if I came off chemo and stopped taking medicine it would be a few months. I am lucky. It sounds so lame but, anyone could die at any time. I don't want to be depressed. People have a lot worse." The three-peak challenge was completed by her in 2014 and in the same year's August, she participated in the 100-mile Prudential Ride London cycle event. After this event, she had developed cough when she was somewhere between London and Surrey. She had put it down to having gotten drenched during the ride. She decided to visit her GP when the cough didn't reduce after 3 weeks. She was prescribed to take antibiotics.
She said, "At the same time, I began experiencing pains in my lower back when I was lying down. But, I didn't think the two were related. It wasn't until I was in a spin class and really felt as though I couldn't go on that I went back to the doctors. It was suspected that I might have pneumonia and I was sent to A & E for an urgent x-ray." More antibiotics were prescribed to her. But still after having no effects, she used her company'sprivate healthcare for further tests. She recalled that the doctor looked really worried when she was telling her the symptoms. She admitted herself in the Royal Brompton Hospital, central London, in December, 2014. She underwent tests like CT scan, ultrasound, echo scan, endoscopy and pet scan for a week. Following these tests, an unusual amount of fluid was discovered in her lungs by the doctors. Over a 3-day period, she had drained 2 litres.
She told, "It turned out that was what was causing the pain in my back. I was able to spend the weekend at home and then, the following Monday, I had an appointment where I was told I had lung cancer." Then, she was referred to Dr, Tom Newsom-Davis who is a medical oncologist at Leaders in Oncology Care, a part of HCA International. Her cancer being incurable and at 4th stage was confirmed by further scans. A rare gene mutation accounting for less than 1% of lung cancer patients caused it. This was what the biopsy revealed.
Usually such people also would have never smoked. Following three weeks after all the tests and scans, she became extremely ill. In January 2015, when the chemotherapy treatment began, she lost a lot of weight and became out-of-breath from walking.
The wedding will be taking place with 120 family members and friends, at an old town hall in Clerkenwell, central London. Her sister, Sian, 25, will be the bridesmaid.
She is extremely grateful for the support she has received from her friends and family, especially her parents, father David and mother Sandy, both 65 and hailing from south west London. She has thanked each and everyone for their support whole-heartedly. She says, "That's why we want a big party after our wedding with lots of booze - to say thank you because everyone has been brilliant." Though she is full of positive attitude and positive vibes, she gets mad at smokers as they increase their chances of suffering from lung cancer. She explained, "When I told my friends and colleagues about what I had, those who smoked stopped immediately. A few started again and I was so upset. It makes me so mad. Don't smoke. Not for yourself, but for what you are potentially putting your friends and family through. To others, I'd say that you really shouldn't ignore health issues. It's not normal to have a cough for three months and it seems obvious to me now but you shouldn't feel embarrassed or as though you're causing a fuss."
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