A nurse who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic was diagnosed with terminal cancer – after she took a cough suppressant a symptom of ongoing covid.

46-year-old Victoria Poir says she caught the virus while hiking with her family in August 2021 and suffered from terrible cough for months after.

Believing the cough was the result of lingering Covid, Victoria was finally sent for tests earlier this year – which eventually revealed she was living with stage four lung cancer.

The mother-of-two, from Castle Bromwich, West Midlands, says her only wish is to make memories with her beloved family and is urging anyone suffering from a cough to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Her NHS colleagues are also trying to raise money so Victoria and her radiologist husband Ben, 46, can take their children, son Joseph, 11, and daughter Lydia, eight, to Disneyland in the time she has left.

The nurse said: “My life has been turned upside down. It’s crazy, just absolutely crazy.

“I’m hoping that chemotherapy and immunotherapy will give me a few more years. I pray for that.

“If someone has a cough, just please, please go and get tested and don’t assume it’s just a Covid cough.

“I never thought for a minute that my cough would turn out to be cancer. I literally thought it was a covid cough because that’s what they say.

“There are a lot of people coughing, and you just don’t understand. You don’t know if it’s something more serious, so just get it checked out, please.”

Victoria, Ben and their two children were forced to go into quarantine after the whole family contracted Covid-19 during a camping holiday in August 2021.

Ben and Joseph were badly affected by the virus, while Victoria and Lydia weren’t feeling too bad.

(Victoria Poir/SWNS)

But after the family recovered, Victoria returned to work as a nurse at Birmingham Children’s Hospital – and noticed she still had a cough.

She said: “Ben and Joseph were really bad but Lydia and I weren’t that bad at all – I was just weak and coughing. I just kept coughing.

“When I called my GP in October 2021 they told me not to come straight away because it’s a covid cough and you need time to get over it so give it three months.

“They kept saying it looked like long covid, that’s all they would say because no one knows exactly what long covid is or how to treat it because it’s so new.

“I kept working, getting negative PCR results, and I didn’t feel bad, I just kept coughing.”

Victoria says her GP dismissed her cough as the result of prolonged Covid. She continued to work on the front lines throughout the pandemic.

(Victoria Poir/SWNS)

It wasn’t until around February 2022 – six months after contracting Covid – that Victoria was referred for a chest X-ray with the cough still present after her GP became concerned about her breathing sounds.

X-rays showed inflammation in her chest and Victoria was given steroids and inhalers, while doctors thought she might develop asthma as a result of the coronavirus.

The medication reduced the inflammation in her chest, and Victoria was referred for a repeat chest X-ray, where doctors noticed a shadow in the lower left lung.

Victoria then underwent an urgent CT scan, PET scan, EBUS procedure, biopsy and blood work to find out what the shadow might mean.

A CT scan revealed a pericardial effusion, when too much fluid builds up in the pericardium, which is the structure around the heart.

An echocardiogram on June 9 revealed that Victoria was in fact in heart failure and the mother-of-two was rushed to theater where 410ml of fluid was drained from her heart – more fluid than a can of Coke.

The procedure meant Victoria could breathe more clearly, but two weeks ago, on June 14, she was diagnosed with stage four adenocarcinoma.

Despite the long wait for a diagnosis, she says she doesn’t blame her GP or the NHS – as she too thought she had long-term Covid.

Victoria said: “They thought it was stage one at first but then they found it had spread from my lungs to my heart and to a lymph node on my collarbone so it’s stage four cancer.

“Going through all these tests was terrifying because I’m a pediatric nurse and they told me I had a pericardial effusion and we’d take our little patients straight to theater to drain the fluid.

“I guess I was more worried about the fluid than they were because I’m used to treating kids for it, but I’m an adult so it’s a little different because an adult’s body can hold more fluid.

“The inflammation had a shadow behind it, so without the steroids to reduce it, they would never have seen the cancer. We don’t know if the inflammation was caused by Covid or cancer.”

Victoria will now undergo two cycles of chemotherapy and one cycle of immunotherapy with her first chemotherapy this Friday.

Her colleagues at Birmingham Children’s Hospital set up a JustGiving page last week in the hope of raising money so Victoria can take her children to Disneyland and keep the special memories while she still can.

Incredibly, kind strangers from all over the world rushed to support her and her JustGiving page raised more than £8,000 in the first 48 hours of its launch.

As Victoria prepares for the first round of chemotherapy, she is urging anyone with a cough to see their GP straight away and not dismiss it as a potential long-term case of Covid.

She said: “My life has been turned upside down. It’s crazy, just absolutely crazy.

“I’m hoping that chemotherapy and immunotherapy will give me a few more years. I pray for that.

“We’ve always wanted to go to Disney, and obviously my time is limited right now, so one thing we still want to do is make it to Disney after I finish my treatment.

“People have been so generous on the JustGiving page. I don’t even know who the donors are, I would like to thank them. I’m so grateful I can’t believe it.

“If someone has a cough, just please, please go and get tested and don’t assume it’s just a Covid cough.

“I hear so many people saying they have a covid cough months after contracting covid. I hear this a lot and just want people to check it out just in case.

“I never thought for a minute that my cough would turn out to be cancer. I literally thought it was a covid cough because that’s what they say.

“There are a lot of people coughing, and you just don’t understand. You don’t know if it’s something more serious, so just get it checked out, please.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/long-covid-symptoms-lung-cancer-b2118304.html

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