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I thought my cough was an infection - it was a 'sinister' terminal illness

A young woman was rejected by a clinic and told to drink cough syrup for suspected viral infection. She later found out it was terminal cancer.

Alix Bernard, 29, developed a cough in March 2021. She took several of her COVID tests, all of which were negative, leading her to assume she had contracted a viral bug.

Over time, her symptoms worsened, causing her neck to swell, causing severe pain, and swollen lymph nodes around her chest and shoulders, covering her collarbone.


Bernard, from Newbury, Berkshire, initially thought she was having trouble sleeping and started looking for a chiropractor before the severity of her symptoms subsided.

"It was clear there was a much more serious problem," Bernard told her

"I kept calling my doctor's surgery when I was sick, but my doctor only recommended cough syrup and wouldn't let me have a general practitioner's surgery because of the new coronavirus.

Alix Burnard, 29, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer
Alix Barnard, 29, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer after suffering a terrible cough but died due to the COVID pandemic. I was unable to see a doctor.

By May 2021, however, Bernard said she was having trouble breathing and she was unable to speak until she ran out of air. She coughed constantly and got sick and without a cup for her cough she could not leave the house. She also suffered from severe night sweats, causing her to lose so much weight that her clothes would not fit.

Due to the pandemic, Bernard was unable to seek immediate medical attention and was told to undergo a series of tests for glandular fever and antibiotics, all of which were ineffective.

Bernard was in pain and knew there was something seriously wrong, so she kept calling her doctor and eventually accepted to see a doctor. Alix was immediately sent to the emergency room after receiving

Doctors initially worried that Bernard had tuberculosis, but tests soon ruled her out. She was sent home until her CT scan in June 2021 changed her life forever.

Alix Burnard lived a healthy lifestyle before being diagnosed with cancer
Jam Press/Alix Barnard

He started telling me otherwise, and then suggested that this was something more "sinister." lived for a week. She was also on several IV bags of antibiotics because she was battling pneumonia.

"It was around this time that I was told I had cancer," Bernard said. ``I couldn't believe what was happening to me. I was always really healthy, never smoked, drank very little, didn't exercise, ate plant foods, and my lifestyle even made me think I might have cancer.

Alix Burnard in the hospital
Jam Press/Alix Bernard

While struggling to accept her diagnosis, Bernard was left alone in the hospital without support due to the pandemic.

"I spent the entire hospital stay alone. Due to COVID-19, I was not allowed a single visitor," she explained.

"I went through the most difficult and upsetting days of my life without a single familiar face. It was really hard."

The doctor later said that Bernard I confirmed that I was suffering from adenocarcinoma, a cancer that forms in the glandular tissue. By the time Bernard was finally diagnosed, her cancer had spread to her liver, lymph nodes, shoulders, spine and pelvis.

Alix Burnard couldn't see her collar bone when her neck, chest and shoulders puffed up
Jam Press Vid/Alix Burnard

"I'm not quite sure what this means. And it took another doctor to explain that I had incurable cancer," she said. I remember telling a friend that I might die."

Bernard was sent home from the hospital for two weeks, only to develop cancer as a result of lung cancer. Because of pneumonia, he continued to weaken.

``In the last two weeks things have really gotten worse. I had to climb up and down," she said.

"I had to move my bedroom downstairs to make my day-to-day life easier. I was coughing all day and all night, so I could only sleep in short bursts." 83}

She eventually began targeted oral therapy and had to return to the hospital for several stints in the ICU relying on a ventilator for breathing.

Learning to accept her terminal diagnosis was a struggle and forced Bernard to readjust her entire life.

"My diagnosis came as a shock. "At 28, I had stage 4 lung cancer. At first I was too sick to handle it. It took me a while to recover from the pneumonia and start oral chemotherapy. I didn't want to go to work," she said. rice field.

Alix Burnard developed serious swelling as her cough persisted
Jam Press Video/Alix Bernard

I am living with incurable cancer. He was too sick to care for a dog, he couldn't even walk on his own, let alone a strong bulldog.

"I had to take time off work. I had my hair cut in case it fell out during the treatment. I was still underweight. It made me feel like I lost all my identity.”

“When I start taking the stairs again, I have to learn how to pace myself. No. I felt like I was basically starting from scratch with my physio instruction and who I was.How I identified.

Doctor found several blood clots and DVTs, including one in Bernard's brain, in addition to cancer and pneumonia, and was prescribed blood-thinning drugs, which she will continue to take for the rest of the day.

In June 2022, she was started on crizotinib after another biopsy found a MET mutation in her cells, which is the next treatment to try before IV chemotherapy.

"I can only hope that this will give me more time than my two previous lines of treatment.

"I have regular PET scans to check for cancer activity, so I'm taking my life very seriously," she said.

Alix Burnard attached to IVs in the hospital
A series of tests reveal that Bernard is suffering from adenocarcinoma. has been confirmed. The cancer had formed in glandular tissue and had spread to the liver, lymph nodes, shoulder, and chest. spine and pelvis.

Barnard advises others to never ignore a cough and to defend themselves in the clinic. I think it's pretty clear that anyone can get lung cancer, and if the cough persists, don't ignore it," she advised. "Talk to your [doctor] and get tested. It might save your life."

Despite being diagnosed with a terminal illness, Bernard remains optimistic.

"I want to spend time with the people I love most, I want to travel, I want to be in nature, I want to be as healthy as possible," she said.

"In this situation, as another lung cancer patient said, it's not how long you live that matters, but how well you live, and make the most of the life you have." I have learned that is very important—even if it is limited.