A BRAVE mum has told how her dog desperately tried to warn her that she had lung cancer.
Keen runner Linda Brown says her beloved West Highland Terrier Ralph tried to alert her to the disease by jumping on her lap and repeatedly poking his nose into the area where the tumour was found four weeks later.
Soon after Linda underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumour and says that Ralph’s uncharacteristic behaviour stopped the minute she was home from hospital.
She told the Tele: “When I look back to the time when I had the tumour, he started coming up and trying to get as far up my back as possible.
“He was tucking his nose right around where the tumour was.
“He would just sit there and wouldn’t move. Ralph would stare as if he was trying to tell me something.
“At the time I had no idea, but I now know what the message was.”
Mum-of-two Linda has never smoked and enjoyed a love of running and nutritious food.
She said: “My eldest son has type one diabetes so I was very concious of eating healthy.
“I remember thinking I would never get cancer because I eat so well and exercise, and I have never been overweight.”
But the 56-year-old’s world was turned upside down back in 2014 after going to the doctor with a persistent cough.
She said: “The cough had gone on for months and months and my running friends kept nagging me to see the doctor.
“Initially when I went to the GP I was given antibiotics, but they made no difference so I was then sent for an X-ray and that’s when they found the tumour.
“They said they had found a shadow on my lung.”
Linda was then sent to the respiratory clinic at Inverclyde Royal Hospital.
She said: “At my first appointment I remember arriving and seeing posters about cancer.
“I thought I had been sent to the wrong place.
“But when I showed my letter, they told me to take a seat and suddenly it all seemed real.”
Linda underwent surgery to remove part of her lung.
She said: “I got an appointment very quickly to go into hospital to have one of the lobes of my right lung taken away completely.
“Fortunately they got it before it had spread to my lymphatic system.
“When they did the biopsy they found that it was quite a rare type of tumour.
“I was fortunate that I didn’t need chemotherapy or radiotherapy.”
Linda said it was a shock to find she had cancer but counts her blessings that it was discovered at an early stage. She is now cancer free and in remission.
She said: “At the time, I was just in coping mode.
“It felt like this was happening to someone else.
“I just went through the motions.”
Linda is now fully recovered and back at work but sees specialists at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre every six months and recently had her six monthly appointments at the respiratory clinic at the IRH extended to yearly.
She says that Ardgowan Hospice have been incredibly supportive throughout her ordeal – prompting her to want to give something back.
She attended the Breathless Intervention Service at the the hospice – a service she says is second to none.
She said: “It has helped me to relax.
“I attended therapy sessions and I also received emotional support – it was great to have someone to talk to, that really helped.
“I had lost a lot of confidence and was very anxious about being in a group as I didn’t think I would be able to talk about cancer.
“But I actually found talking about it very therapeutic.”
Linda, who is a credit controller at Arnold Clark’s head office in Glasgow, has signed up for the Great Scottish Run 10k on September 30.
She said: “Having been a runner, it was always my goal to get back out there.
“My work was offering free places so I explained that I wanted to run for Ardgowan Hospice.
“I got a free place and my employer is going to match fund whatever I raise, which is amazing.”
Linda says it feels great to be able to run again.
She said: “I feel like its given me some normality in my life again.
“I’m no longer ‘Linda who is recovering from cancer’, I’m Linda, the person who is back out there running again.
“I’m hoping to raise a lot of money for the hospice.”
Linda, who lives in Skelmorlie, re-visited the hospice this week to thank staff for their care and support.
She said: “Seeing everyone and remembering what this place has done for me was quite emotional.
“I have made some lovely friends.”
Shaun Miller, who is the access support nurse specialist at the hospice, said they are so grateful to Linda for going the extra mile.
She said: “It gives us great pleasure to see Linda getting so excited and confident about returning to running, a hobby she enjoyed.
“We are so grateful she is fundraising for Ardgowan.
“If anyone would like to do the same I would urge them to please contact [email protected] or call 01475 726830.”
As well as the hospice, Linda is keen to thank everyone who has supported her during her journey, including her sons Nicholas, 24, and Greg, 19, her running friends and all the medical staff who have helped her along the way.
Anyone who would like to donate money can do so online at www.justgiving.com/Linda-Brown43
Source : GreenockTelegraph