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Diane G., NJ

On February 9, 2011, my mother's birthday, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. I was a 35 year old non-smoker who had just given birth for the second time 5 months earlier. I developed a cough and shortness of breath a few weeks after the delivery. I ignored it, took care of my children and went about my life. The coughing started keeping us up at night and I figured I would go to the doctor after the holidays and before I returned to work as a teacher.

After x-rays and scans I was in the hospital for a week while they tried to figure out a mysterious spot in my right upper lobe. After an unpleasant biopsy it was confirmed I had non-small cell adenocarcinoma of the lung. My journey had begun.

I have had chemotherapy, radiation, attempted surgery, clinical trial and continued chemotherapy. Currently my doctors are trying to control the cancer to keep it localized.

I have been through many obstacles along the way, too many to write in this story. But this is what I want people to take away. Lung cancer is not just a smoker's disease. It causes families as much heartache and pain as other cancers. Never give up. No matter how hard it gets, I push through. I do it for myself, my husband, and my children. They deserve a strong mother who can at least teach them to never quit no matter how hard. I fight for them. This country needs to pay more attention to a cancer who kills the most men and women. It is a silent killer with few or no symptoms. I was lucky to find my cancer. At least it gave me a fighting chance.

First Published: October 29, 2013

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