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Clare M., AL

I am 70 years old. I awoke one night with pain under my right shoulder blade. I thought I was having a heart attack so I woke my husband to take me to the emergency room. Once there it was determined that my heart was fine. A chest x-ray revealed a shadow in the upper lobe of my right lung. Several biopsies later and the defining PET scan showed it to be cancer.

I learned that only 1 out of 4 lung cancer patients will have any symptoms before they are in stage 4. Cancer that has a 15% five-year survival rate is usually found early, as in stage 1. I have a 50% chance of a five-year survival rate but with chemo that rate goes up to 60%. I read that most people have few, if any, symptoms and that is the way I am.

If it were not for my family, I would not go through the side effects I am expecting from the chemo. I am booked for next Friday. I will have a pick line put in so chemo is easier to administer. I will have weekly blood tests, weekly doctor visits and weekly chemo for 2 months. As long as I can tolerate the side effects, that will be the way my treatment will go.

Right now I am in excellent health. We walk daily, go ballroom dancing at least monthly, I do all the gardening on a quarter acre lot and enjoy the activities. I am in the beginning of this fight. I know I am very lucky, a great husband and family. I worry about deafness that may come from the drugs, possible kidney damage, loss of feeling in my fingers and toes...they say I won't lose my hair...and I am glad about that.

First Published: October 29, 2013

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