On September 4, 2018, I woke up and went to work like any other work day. I had no idea that before the end of the day my life would change forever.
This is the day I found out that I had a tumor in my lung, discovered during an X-ray for shoulder pain, and it most likely was malignant cancer. I have no real memory of driving home that evening. I believed I had just received a death sentence and all I could think about was how do I tell my family? I had no idea how to break it to them gently.
We were still reeling from the news as we tried to get through scans, tests and biopsies over the next several weeks. When I walked through the doors of the oncology center for the first time, I arrived with no hope of surviving through the first year.
Ultimately, I was diagnosed with Stage IIIa Non Small Cell Lung Cancer and I literally began planning my funeral. I asked my oncologist why I should even bother with treatment? It was hopeless and I didn’t see the point. She patiently explained the treatment plan to me, which included several weeks of radiation, nine chemotherapy infusions and one year of a new immunotherapy.
I left the office that day with the tiniest shred of hope of a positive outcome but it was enough to begin building upon. I am so very excited to say that I am a five year cancer survivor and I want to pay it forward!
I am celebrating by joining the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Walk. The ALA supports research for new lung cancer treatments and I joined the walk because I truly believe that the immunotherapy treatments are what has allowed me to get this far in my cancer journey.