My story began in December 2019. I went to visit my 2-month-old granddaughter in Arizona and at the time she was sick. When I return home to Massachusetts, I came down with a terrible cold. The cough from my cold lingered. In February of 2020 I had my annual physical and I brought the cough to the attention of my doctor. I was in very good health, having no health issues and my blood work and appointments were always positive. My lungs sounded fine so the doctor considered it as post nasal drip and referred me to a ear, nose and throat doctor. At night I would take cough medicine and drink tea.
I got progressively worse! The cough continued and I had trouble breathing. This led to a collapsed lung, pneumonia, plural effusion and a blood clot in my lung. I spent four days in the hospital. The test results from the fluid in my lung showed that I had stage IV lung cancer non-small cell EGFR.
As you might have guessed, my life was turned upside down. I spent weeks wondering how, why this happened to me. I have always eaten well, I don't smoke and yes, maybe I had more wine than I should have.
My life changed forever. I am better now, currently taking targeted drugs for my cancer and I am working on living a changed life with cancer. On top of all of this, it happened right when COVID hit which made this entire experience very lonely and scary. I have hit the books and researched everything I could on lung cancer. I have learned to become my own advocate, if you don't ask, no one will tell you....yes, this includes your doctors. I have taken steps to eliminate toxins from my environment to include using organic products on my skin, hair, teeth and in my food choices. I drastically reduced the amount of red-meat and processed foods from my diet and I haven't had a drop of alcohol since February 2020.
I know my life has changed for the better and sometimes you need cancer to remind you of how precious life is and how important your family is in life. I will continue to fight whether its for cleaner air, cleaner products and healthy food. I also understand how important cancer research is and how lung cancer, because of the smoking stigma, sometimes doesn't get the awareness or funding it should. I will work to make a difference in these areas to give back to those who have helped me in my treatment.