There was no reason to think the doctor was wrong when they told me I might survive 10-15 months with my newly diagnosed stage 4 lung adenocarcinoma. I never considered that I might survive longer. Both of my parents had lung cancer and both died within a few months of diagnosis. Yet here I am 11+ years later living and traveling and enjoying my family, my friends and my life.
My oncologist gave me the strongest treatment available at the time, a platinum doublet with concurrent radiation. He treated my stage 4A cancer as though it was a 3B cancer and I will always be grateful he went outside the standard treatment box. No one is more delighted than him to see me survive.
My father was diagnosed in 1968, the treatments that I had were not available to him. It would be another decade before a platinum chemo drug would be developed and 25 for the second part of my doublet.
My dad did have radiation though, in those days they used cobalt. Research brought with it many changes and made a huge difference in the outcome of cancer patients like me. When diagnosed the chances that I might see a five year survival was 1%. That rate has doubled and quadrupled several times over and the five year survival rate of all lung cancer patients has almost doubled.
This is an exciting time to be a patient and an advocate. Today I am a mentor to newly diagnosed patients, I advocate for research funding on Capitol Hill, I’m a patient advisor on two committees at my hospital, I moderate several patient to patient lung cancer support and volunteer in multiple community projects. Life is good