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LUNG FORCE Heroes

Charlene F.

My pulmonologist recommended I get a CT Scan after treatment for a persistent cough lasting a couple of weeks which was thought to have been Bronchitis did not go away. I was diagnosed in March 2016 with stage 1 lung cancer. A biopsy showed that 10 out of 15 lymph nodes had microscopic cancer cells which then put me into stage 3.

At the time of my diagnosis I'd been smoke free for six years. As part of my treatment, part of my lung was removed and I began chemotherapy.

In September 2016 tests showed that none of the cancer remained. I continued to work part time and travel with friends and family. In January 2017 a routine CT scan showed that the cancer returned spreading to my bones bringing me to stage 4. Immunotherapy was not shrinking the cancer cells and I was then put back on a chemo regimen. The regimen was too strong for my body and I ended up in the hospital. I was told if the chemotherapy did not work for me, I would have two months to live. I was using oxygen and in a wheelchair and told my doctor that I am going to live and have no intentions of going anywhere. I continue to astound my doctor with how well I am doing. I am in stage 4 and continue with chemo.

My amazing husband and caregiver, family and friends and medical team, have been an incredible support. I maintain my sense of humor and a positive outlook. I share my story as often as I can to help others also diagnosed with lung cancer know they are not alone and to help guide them through this journey.

First published: February 16, 2018

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