Elizabeth M., KY
I was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in May 2019. At the time, I had a 6 month old and 2.5 year old. We were devastated and completely blindsided.
My first sign of lung cancer actually turned out to be extreme lung/chest pain when I was 30 weeks pregnant in August 2018. I went to the ER because my OB and PCP wouldn't see me due to my symptoms. I was diagnosed with a calcified granuloma in my lower left lung. Otherwise, everything was crystal clear and I was sent on my way home with no follow up. The next sign that something was truly off was eight months later in late April 2019. I went home for a workout at lunch and that night started coughing up blood. I went to my PCP immediately the next day and that's when the process started that led to my eventual diagnoses.
I had emergency brain surgery on May 21, 2019 to take care of a colloid cyst that my brain MRI had found. Roughly 3 in 1 million people have this issue, and mine was life threatening as it was causing hydrocephalus, which could have killed me.
Two weeks after my brain surgery, I started on Alectinib and my symptoms of cough and coughing up blood almost immediately stopped. I hadn't truly felt sick until after my bronchoscopy which determined that I did have lung cancer. But my lungs were filled with cancerous fluid, and I had two lymph nodes that were active with cancer. By May 2019 when I had my scan, it had spread to my liver, my pelvis, my ribcage and three spots on my spine. Hope for a cure was gone.
Since then, I have had progression twice (yikes!) in less than two years. Alectinib is supposed to work for at least (on average) 35 months. I was on it for about 10 months before it stopped working. I have two young children that I desperately want to see grow up. At the very least, I want them to be able to remember me. This is why research is so important; to save lives like mine. My children deserve to have me as their mother, and I cannot imagine my husband as a single dad! There is so much hope, but we need funding for research and awareness more than ever to get us over the edge.
First Published: March 1, 2021
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