Cathy Barker Joins Lung Cancer Advocates from Every State on Capitol Hill to Fight for More Research Funding
(March 28, 2016) - CHATTANOOGA TN
On March 16, Cathy Barker of Signal Mountain joined with the American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE initiative and other "LUNG FORCE Heroes" – Americans personally impacted by lung cancer – from every state at the U.S. Capitol to press Tennessee's Senators and Congressmen for continued bipartisan momentum toward defeating lung cancer.
During Advocacy Day, Cathy shared her personal experience with lung cancer, the #1 cancer killer for both women and men in the United States. As she explains it:
It has been six years since I heard the diagnosis from my doctor: "There is the suggestion of a shadow underneath your clavicle. It must come out immediately. I believe it is lung cancer."
That following week is a blur of biopsies, hospital rooms during a major snow storm, notifying friends and family, and fear. The fear was of the known: My mother died of lung cancer in 1972, ten days after being diagnosed by the same medical group. And the unknown: Will I suffer? Will I miss seeing my grandchildren grow up? Can I do anything to improve my prospects? Am I ready to face what scripture and literature have talked about?
I immediately went to my Bible: Psalm 121 - "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber...The LORD is thy keeper:..The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore."
Then I turned to Hamlet: "If it be now, 'tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come - the readiness is all."
Thereafter, I remained calm, put my medical condition in the hands of my dear friend and pulmonologist Jeong and my wise oncologist friend Dr. Gandhi and determined I was ready to stay the course, whatever the outcome.
Each day of those past six years has been a gift to be treasured and a time to be savored. On Sunday mornings when I sing in the choir, I smile at my friends who have been praying for me and encouraging me.
Each laugh of one of my now eight grandchildren, reverberates through my soul.
Celebrating my fiftieth wedding anniversary with my dear husband, with our three children gathered round, made my heart swell with joy and say, "Thank you, Lord." My association with the American Lung Association is just one way to make those extra days meaningful.
It was exhilarating to be a part of an all-America project for the life and death cause of overcoming lung cancer's ravages on all segments of our society.
Since I was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer six years ago, I have never had a conversation with another survivor of a lung cancer of my type and level; the doctors and cancer support groups locally could not connect me with another person going through what I was experiencing.
Lung Cancer Advocacy Day 2016 gave me a sisterhood!
I made so many connections with advocates for other health issues while crisscrossing the halls of my representatives and experienced a sense of solidarity with all of us who are concerned with the larger picture of improving health care for all. I am just one of many.
Current media blitzes had blinded me to the way our government system works behind the scenes to serve us and to listen to our personal problems. My representatives and their staffs actually listened to ME and asked questions about MY story! I returned home even prouder to be an American than ever
The American Lung Association encourages everyone to visit LUNGFORCE.org and advocate for lung cancer research.