"Don't smoke," is my advice to anyone who will listen. I know firsthand the impact it can have on one's health, as I was diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago. But, my story isn't just about a former smoker who got sick. It's about hope, which, for me, came in the form of brand new immunotherapy treatments that are improving quality of live for lung cancer patients who are out of options.
My diagnosis was lung cancer that had metastasized to my liver and brain. Gamma knife treatment, targeted radiation and seven different chemo medications later, and the cancer had spread further, to my kidney, bone, pelvis and pancreas. I was extremely fatigued; it was difficult to push forward. I never gave up hope; I knew things could change.
In February 2015, my doctor decided it was time to explore a brand new approach: an immunotherapy drug that had just recently been approved by the FDA.
Fast forward nine months; to say the immunotherapy has given me a new lease on life is an understatement. My quality of life has improved immensely, and I don't have nearly as much fatigue. I expected it to drain my energy, like chemo had! Perhaps most exciting from a disease perspective is all of my tumors have shrunk.
I'm grateful for the research that's being done in the area of lung cancer. Recent investigation into immunotherapy, for example, has meant a solution that allows me to enjoy retirement and time with my wife, son and grandchildren.