Barbara T

Barbara T., AK

I was busy getting ready to retire and I did not see a cancer diagnosis as part of my future. But, there it was. I had dropped some weight, lost some hair and felt a bit tired but I figured it was because I was putting in extra-long days at work.

Knowing my retirement was coming and I would be moving off my current insurance, I decided to head to the doctor’s office for one final once-over. I had had a bout with pneumonia but nothing too concerning, until it was.

One specialist led to another. Finally, one month before my last day at the station,a doctor called me with the news I had adenocarcinoma in my left lung. Cancer. We charged ahead with a plan. I was watching the 2018 Winter Olympics at the time and was so inspired by all the athletes, I tackled my diagnosis as an “athlete in training," rather than a cancer patient.

My physicians were my coaches. My nurses and PAs were my trainers. And my family and friends, my teammates. I was as ready as I could be for a lot of hard work ahead.

Four years later, I’m doing really well and so grateful I was able to get such excellent care right here in Alaska. We all have a right to healthcare. Every Alaskan should have the opportunity to treat their cancer with the enormous benefit that comes from being with their family and friends, and in their homes and communities.

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