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`Look at what happened to me and tell me smoking's worth it'

by JENNY MONROE

Isaac Keery at home reflecting on his recent operation to remove a lung after years of smoking US4507-401PM

Isaac Keery at home reflecting on his recent operation to remove a lung after years of smoking US4507-401PM

A LISBURN man who had a lung removed after being told he had just a year left to live is urging smokers to think twice about lighting up.

Isaac Keery, 62, was diagnosed with cancer last April and told he could expect to live just 12 months if he didn't have his left lung taken out.

Recalling the moments when he was given the heart wrenching news an emotional Isaac said: "It didn't dawn on me how serious things were until a Macmillan Nurse spoke to me at the hospital after my x-ray and scan results were in. I kept thinking 'am I really going to die?'

"It was all happening so quickly but I had the support of the Macmillan Nurses every step of the way and I really can't speak highly enough of the care I received from the NHS."

After a successful operation Isaac, who had to give up his roofing contractor business, required chemotherapy but this made him angry and depressed. "It was after my chemotherapy treatment that I became suicidal. The pain was unbearable and many a time I just burst into tears. The anger that went through me was unbelievable but I

owe my sanity to the Macmillan Nurses who were with me every step of the way. The counselling I received at the Macmillan Support and Information Centre, Belfast City Hospital, was great" he said.

Now six months on after his diagnosis Isaac is asking smokers to give up the habit. "I used to smoke 20-30 roll ups a day before I took ill but when I was told about the cancer I was smoking up to 75 a day. My nerves were wrecked - I knew I shouldn't but I just couldn't help myself, " he said.

"I want to get the message across to people that smoking could claim your life. People will normally dismiss pleas to stop but I tell you, when I show them my scars they are shocked and left speechless."

Isaac's great sense of humour and the support of his family has clearly helped him on his road to recovery but he realises that life is precious and treasures every waking minute he has.

He joked: " I told my doctor that I am hanging around until my youngest grandson is married - he's three.'

Early diagnosis could save your life

THIS is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Macmillan Cancer Support is encouraging men and women in Northern Ireland to be aware of the early symptoms and tell-tale signs of lung cancer.

Many lives could be saved if symptoms were discovered earlier and this is the message being reinforced by Macmillan Cancer Support during Lung Cancer Awareness Month "don't leave it too late to get checked out."

The warning signs of lung cancer developing include:

  • Having a cough for more than three weeks
  • A chest infection that won't go away even with antibiotics
  • Feeling more tired than usual.

There are a number of reasons why you might have some of these symptoms, and it may not be cancer, but it is vital to arrange a check-up with your GP if you have any concerns.

For help and advice about lung cancer, call the Macmillan Cancer line on 0808 808 2020

jenny.monroe@jpress.co.uk

Ulster Star
09/11/2007