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Christine M.

In a blink of an eye your entire life can change. I was a happy, healthy, active 49-year old woman who ran several half marathons, loved to be outside walking, running and just staying active. Life was good, I was turning 50 and I was ready to embrace every aspect of it!

That it all changed, my new normal, I have lung cancer, I take a daily chemo pill and infusions every 21 days. How is that possible? Why me? What did I do to deserve this? I kept thinking that I would wake up from what I thought was just an awful dream, and I quickly realized this is my new normal, I have lung cancer.

My life changed about 10 months ago, I hurt my shoulder when working on a small outdoor 15 bag mulch project...that somehow turned into a major 60 bag mulch project. Quite frankly, my hurt injury was a blessing in disguise. After a few days, the ache in my shoulder didn't go away, I decided that I should get it checked out and went to the medical center in Hockessin, Delaware to help alleviate the discomfit I am having with my shoulder. What was planned as a simple in and out visit turned about to be anything but that. I was completely caught off guard and dumbfounded by the potential diagnosis of lung cancer. Clearly it was a mistake, maybe it was a blur on the x-ray. The conversation that happen from that point is still numbing to me. I was trying to understand how I felt perfectly fine, no symptoms to think that I am sick, much less, this is all a mistake.

In June, I started getting additional tests done at Christina hospital and then I decided to get a second opinion and I picked Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. On July 27, a spine biopsy was done and shortly there after it was confirmed that I had Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer.

Wow, refocus, readjust and start the fight of your life. Prior to my diagnosis, we didn't know much about lung cancer, didn't really hear a lot about it. My two daughters wanted to keep us busy, focused and try to raise money to raise awareness about lung cancer. They found information online about the American Lung Association's Rehoboth Beach LUNG FORCE walk in Delaware. They created our walk team name, "Christine Strong" and my youngest daughter designed t-shirts and in very little time we have 29 people on our team and we raised over $2,500.

"Christine Strong" is a daily reminder about all the people who support me, love me, give me the courage and strength to keep fighting. I don't think I could be in this fight without them, they give me the reason to keep fighting and pushing forward. At times, I do get a little down and discouraged, without hesitation by husband looks at me and says "CHRSITINE STRONG!"

The American Lung Association in Delaware has asked me to be a LUNG FORCE hero and represent the state of Delaware and travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with my members of Congress. I am looking forward for the opportunity to help raise awareness to help fight lung cancer and to really tell people that lung cancer can and does happen to anyone. Recently, I received a text from a young woman who is a LUNG FORCE hero from Pennsylvania named Ashley, who heard my story and while fighting her own battle with lung cancer, she took the time, to let me know that I am not alone and that if I needed someone to talk to, that she was there for me. It is funny how a simple act of kindness to a from a stranger can provide a certain level of comfort and peace to keep all of every mindful that we are not in this alone and we are going to continue our fight to beat lung cancer!

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