I am a 42 year old mother, wife, and teacher. Like most people I was going about the business of life as usual when out of nowhere came this persistent cough. I went to a couple of urgent care facilities and they prescribed antibiotics and sent me on my merry way. After taking all the antibiotics as prescribed the cough was still there and now I had a really swollen lymph node in my neck. Well, luckily for me it was the end of the school year so I decided to make a doctor's appointment once school was out. I went to my primary care physician, but this time I had my own demands. I instructed them to do bloodwork and chest X-rays, to which they happily obliged. After my results came back there were red flags all over the place that something was seriously wrong. A biopsy was done on the swollen lymph node and sure enough it came back as cancer, but not just any cancer stage 4 lung cancer. How does a person who has never smoked get lung cancer? The thought of it all was overwhelming, but on top of that you realize that your life is not valued as someone with a different cancer because yours is associated with the smoking stigma. Money is not raised to further research for your cancer, no one wears your ribbon on national tv, no one publicizes your plight because obviously you brought this on yourself. My children deserve to have a mother, my husband deserves to have a wife and my students deserve a teacher who gives them her all. Hashtag myribbonmatters, allcancerresearchmatters, mylifematters.
First Published: July 12, 2016
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