As part of the world’s first Thymic Cancer Awareness Month ThymicUK founder and chair Karen Ruddock was asked if she’d take part in an interview, to give her cancer story and help raise awareness. Within a short space of time the story was published on the Independent Online Newspaper.
Below is a short extract from the story:
A sporty office worker who was struck down by nausea and exhaustion thought she had food poisoning when she lost two stone in a fortnight but discovered she had a rare cancer affecting just 345 people in the UK a year and had her left lung removed to save her life.
Keen hockey player and gym regular Karen Ruddock, 54, was the picture of health in March 2015 when her world came crashing down after a diagnosis of stage 4 thymoma – a cancer of the thymus gland behind the breastbone affecting less than one per cent of (cancer diagnosis in) Brits each year, according to Cancer Research UK.
Given gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy, customer service assistant Karen, who lives in Walthamstow, east London, with her lecturer wife Heidrun Bien, 45, had her left lung removed in September 2021, after the cancer had “taken it over,” leaving it with just four per cent function.
She said: “This has been one hell of a rollercoaster. It’s made me realise that I’m quite resilient.
“We didn’t know how long I would be here for. We had no idea what my life expectancy was. It was a very scary time, as you’re just left in this big unknown.
“There wasn’t much information at all about my cancer, so it felt very isolating.”
She added: “I had the most amazing care at Guys Hospital, and they gave me the best support.
“They did exploratory surgery from the heart all the way down.
“All my internal organs were moved around and put back in. They were in the same place for 54 years, so it’s strange to think about that.”