Deborah Hutton in The Observer:
I count myself the luckiest and unluckiest woman in London. The luckiest because I have a great husband, a fabulous family with kids on track and growing up, a beautiful house, more friends than I deserve and as much interesting work as I want. This time a year ago, I’d put the dog on the lead and walk over to the local shops in the sunshine, marvelling at my own good fortune, thinking I wouldn’t swap places with anyone in the world. Then, at a stroke, this lovely run of luck ran out. On 26 November 2004, at the age of ‘just’ 49-and-a-half, which my kids think is ancient but seems pretty young to me, I discovered that the irritating, niggly cough I had had for the past two months was no trivial chest infection but an aggressive adenocarcinoma that had already spread well beyond the organ of origin – my lungs – to my bones, lymph nodes and possibly my liver as well. The irony of my situation was apparent to everyone who knew me. I was never ill, never down, a runner of half-marathons, and a yoga freak and nutrition nut to boot.
I knew how to look after myself big time. After all, it was my job. I had been writing about women’s health for more than a quarter of a century, first as health editor of Vogue and then for a range of magazines and newspapers. I was the published author of not one but four books about preventive health. Since giving up smoking 23 years ago, I had joined the ranks of those fanatically intolerant antismoking ex-smokers. And yet here I now was, struck down by lung cancer, with its serves-you-right stigma.