By all accounts, Vicky Veness appeared to be the picture of health. The personal trainer exercised on a daily basis, she didn’t smoke and she followed a well-balanced diet — yet, this photo of her smiling into the camera was taken the very day she was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Now, the 30-year-old is shattering notions of what a serious illness should look like.
“Just a warning that this post may be upsetting to read,” Veness warned readers.
“This photo was taken a few hours before I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I’m 30 years old, a personal trainer, runner, non-smoker and healthy eater. When you have cancer you won’t necessarily look ill on the outside.”
“The symptoms might be much more subtle and only show themselves occasionally. Unfortunately my symptoms were brushed off as asthma by many general practitioners. The moral of the story is this, if you feel unwell for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter how silly you might think it might be, see your doctor, question everything and keep going back until you get the answers you need.”
“This has been the most emotionally and physically challenging week of my life, but now it’s time to fight this!”
Venes received hundreds of supportive comments from people across the world, with many offering their prayers and targeted therapy suggestions to help her navigate through the illness. But many were still shocked that such a healthy young woman was diagnosed with lung cancer to begin with.
“Read your story and it’s just so sad,” wrote a woman named Paige. “It just goes to show that you don’t need to be healthy or unhealthy to get cancer!! It’s actually so so frightening.”
“Wow. Non-smoker, healthy eater, personal trainer and runner gets LUNG cancer,” Aoife commented.
“Thank you for caring enough to share this. I hope and pray that you beat this, your beauty is definitely more than skin deep,” said Jeir.
Stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer is at the most advanced stage — this is when the cancer has spread to both lungs or to another part of the body, such as the liver or other organs). Symptoms may include a persistent cough, hoarseness, wheezing, coughing up blood, or pain in the chest, shoulders or arms.
According to studies, the percentage of people who are expected to be alive five years after stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis is only four per cent.