My Lung Force story begins in the summer of 2015. I had just retired, my daughter just got engaged, and my husband was cutting back on his travel for work so we could spend more time together. Life was great! Then my husband’s nagging cough turned our world upside down.
At first, we thought it was allergies. Then he was treated for pneumonia. Finally, when these treatments didn’t help, he visited a pulmonologist. Then a biopsy was done and in July, my dear husband Paul, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. How could that be?! He didn’t have any of the symptoms. He was a healthy 58-year-old man. A non-smoker, exercised regularly, and watched his diet. He was ‘that guy’ who did everything right.
Lung Cancer doesn’t care! In fact, statistics indicate up to 20% of lung cancer patients are non-smokers.
Paul was a Lung Force Hero and hero to his family and all who knew him. I was his Caregiver. A job that would challenge me in so many ways. Cancer impacts the family too.
My Hero was fighting for his life and I would be there to love and support him, to care and comfort him. I went to every doctor’s appointment and surgery – just to hold his hand. When we traveled to other states for a consultation or to try new a treatment – I carried the luggage. And when he wanted to try a special diet just for cancer patients – I learned how to cook. These were small things but still important. I wanted Paul to know we were in this fight TOGETHER!
I read everything I could about lung cancer because Knowledge is Power! I wanted to know what was going on with current research, clinical trials, and yes, even the statistics they tell you not to read. In front of Paul and our family and friends I was brave and strong. In private I would sob in the shower so no one would see my tear-stained face. To all the caregivers out there – that’s ok.
Paul passed away in 2018, almost three and a half years after being diagnosed. That was a gift, since at the time he was diagnosed life expectancy was only 2 years. It speaks volumes to the advances made in lung cancer research. Paul always supported the Lung Association. He believed funds raised and progress made today might not help him, but it would definitely help others in the future.
Today I am proud to be a Lung Force Advocate, to continue the fight and honor Paul.
When the doctor told Paul, “you have lung cancer”, the words were heart wrenching. I felt all our hopes and dreams were dashed in a moment. They weren’t. We made the most of every day and we got involved with Lung Force. Since joining the fight – I know there IS hope. With additional funding to continue research and raise awareness about lung cancer, we WILL find a cure. Let’s work together and support the fight for air, fight for funds, and fight for hope.