LUNG FORCE Heroes
'Life is changed, not ended" I have used that phrase many times. In fact, it is written on a card posted on my refrigerator. I used it to tell my husband, who had lung cancer, that yes, our lives had changed, but not ended.
We were active in our earlier days of retirement. We belonged to a senior center, went on outings, trips, dinner theaters, etc. But then he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. With Cyberknife and chemo treatments, he became weak and so sick. I had to push him in a wheelchair. He became depressed, and so I tried to think of things to do or some places to take him to get his mind off his illness. We enjoyed walks along the river where we talked, laughed and still planned our future for when he got better.
Ironically, one day as we finished our walk and were going to sit under a tree to watch the tall ships go up the river, he collapsed with a cardiac arrest. He was on life support for one week, and when we knew he wasn't coming back, my children and I watched him take his last breath and enter a more peaceful world.
Ray was a strong man, determined. Whenever the doctor told him to do something, he did it twice! He endured a heart condition, 2 bypasses and a valve replacement. He completed cardiac rehab, watched his diet, never smoked, took his medicine - and they were numerous! He had a strong desire to live, not only for us, but also for our children and grandchildren whom he loved dearly.
I know many people are affected by different types of cancer and you never think it will happen to you, or a member of your family. My hope is that we can continue to promote lung cancer research and increase funding for better treatment and early detection of this dreaded disease so another wife or husband doesn't have to say 'Life is changed, not ended.'
First published: March 10, 2016
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Hero stories are the point of view of the Hero and not necessarily the American Lung Association. The Lung Association does not endorse any specific provider, facility or treatment.