Woman with bowel cancer told she’s 'all clear' 15 years after being given 3 months to live
A woman who was told she had three months to live after being diagnosed with bowel and then liver cancer has been given the all-clear nearly two decades on.
Darina Eyre, 62, was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer in 2004 and had surgery and chemotherapy to remove it.
Four years later, the mum-of-two was diagnosed with liver cancer, and was told she may only have three to six months to live.
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Doctors then found a cancerous lump in Eyre’s lung and she required another surgery to remove it.
Since then Eyre’s cancer has been constantly monitored, but she has now been told she’s cancer-free – nearly two decades after her original diagnosis.
"I can't even describe the relief when the doctors said, 'Darina we are discharging you,’" Eyre says.
"After the last surgery, we were all relieved but very skeptical. Finally after 19 years, I was able to ring my family and tell them I have been discharged completely. They've said touch wood that the cancer won't return."
Eyre said she noticed symptoms of her bowel cancer a year before she was diagnosed, but doctors told her the symptoms were due to a bad diet.
The tumour from her bowel cancer then burst and spread into her blood stream which is what caused the other types of cancers.
"As a family, we were so heartbroken and angry when I was first diagnosed because I had been to the doctors every few months," she explains.
"They just said I had a bad diet but it wasn't, because I never had a bad diet. I wasn't eating how I am now, which is very mindfully, but I was still eating well.
"Now I'm always telling people if they have any symptoms of bowel cancer, to not ignore them and go to the doctors as soon as possible as it could be avoided. They do the surgery which is tough but it's okay in the end if it's not a late diagnosis."
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Eyre was diagnosed with lung cancer just a few months before her daughter, also called Darina, gave birth to her own daughter Olivia Grace, now 14.
She said when Olivia Grace was born, she "swore that she would be here for her" and that it made her "determined" to fight the disease.
"I was diagnosed on 5 December so shortly before Christmas and my daughter was expecting my granddaughter in three weeks," Eyre recalls.
"I knew that Christmas would be very difficult so I decided to keep it quiet, which was really difficult.
"My daughter had been gifted some little shoes and she asked me to hang them on the Christmas tree.
"That was the most difficult moment of my life because my hands were absolutely clammy and shaking and I didn't know how I was going to do it."
Eyre said was worried she would have to tell her daughter how unwell she was, but in the end managed to hang it on the tree.
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"When my granddaughter was born and I was holding her, I swore that I would be here for her until I'm an old granny, I was determined," she adds.
"The relationship I have with her now is absolutely amazing, she calls me her partner in crime and we do a lot of things like go on holidays together.
"Every time I look at her, she's a reminder that everything is in our head and we can decide to keep fighting."
Eyre also has huge thanks for Pendleside Hospice, after being told by a Macmillan nurse that it was a fantastic place.
"But," she admits, "when I heard the word 'hospice', I absolutely panicked.
"That was the one time that I was really panicking.
"But I kept going there for coffee and to talk to people and to have therapy.
"They do an absolutely fantastic job and when I was there, I wasn't reminded about what was going on.
"I will be forever grateful for the days that I spent there."
For more information on the diseases Eyre suffered from, see our useful guides on bowel cancer signs and symptoms, and the most common cancer types (including lung cancer), and liver cancer symptoms.
Additional reporting SWNS.
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