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Kari P.

My name is Kari. Lung cancer came into my life when I was about 25. My grandmother had it and passed away about six months after diagnosis. It didn't really affect me, I was young, I had a new baby. So, my focus was him. My mom and her sisters took care of grandma.

About eight years later, it hit home for me. My mom, best friend and grandmother to my children, was diagnosed with lung cancer in Nov 2006. This time, it really hit me. I also had a cousin who had fought and was in remission of lung cancer at the time. After having chemo and radiation for about 3-4 months, mom refused the brain radiation. She decided being sick was not what she wanted and chemo was the only thing to give her "more time".

She decided to live what time she had, feeling good and doing what she wanted. She spent the summer traveling and visiting distant family. In the summer she began having signs of brain mets. I am a nurse, so I noticed this quickly. We had a scan done and, sure enough, several lesions. We started Hospice care and in August of 2007, my cousin passed away from complications of surgery she had for a broken hip while again on chemo for her returned lung cancer. Watching my mom visit her knowing that one day soon, she was going to go too.

In early October, she began declining and unable to communicate. Over two weeks, I watched my mom go from sitting up and talking to me, to laying in a hospital bed in her living room, suffering in pain and anxiety of dying. She was on so many medications and nothing stopped her from repetitive movement sitting up and down in bed unable to calm her. For two weeks she did this. At this point we were giving her Morphine every two hours. You know, this is not just for pain, it's to help them pass easier. Well, all I could do was pray to God that he take her. She finally passed on Oct. 25, 2007 while I lay in bed with her holding on as long as I could.

This was not that long ago, and even then where we are, the options for treatment were very little. My mom didn't have a chance. I am a firm believer that our community has some issues and causes of lung cancer and other cancers. My goal is to help bring awareness to the community that this is not just a smoking disease, but environmental also and we need to step up and speak out to stop it.

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