On December 3, 2018, my life forever changed. My mom, a nurse, that has spent her whole life helping others, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-small cell carcinoma (cancer). This was a major blow to my family especially because my mom showed no signs of this terrible disease. We were lucky enough to have my mother’s coworkers supporting us and provide immediate medical attention to get her treatment started right away. I moved her in with me so I could help her during this time and be there for her. We went wig shopping, bought foods that she could stomach, and got all of the nausea meds ready to go.
She started her first round of three infusions of chemo in January 2019. It was the hardest time in my life to see my mom go through such pain and sickness for a week straight. At this time she was supposed to lose her hair – the doctors said everyone that has this chemo has lost their hair. Miraculously, my mom did not lose her hair by the time she was due for her second round of chemo in February.
My mom had to go to her second round of chemo without me (work constraints) which I was not happy about, but she promised me it would be okay. I anxiously waited for my mom's call to tell me she was done with the 3 hour chemo infusion and ready to be picked up. She called and her voice was different. She excitedly told me that she did not have to take the chemo infusion and that her doctor said her DNA matched with a newer drug that was an oral chemo with less side effects. And, this chemo was helping another patient in the same office live for the past 6 years with lung cancer. I had never experienced what “tears of joy” were until this day. I cried and cried tears of happiness. As many lung cancer patients, caregivers, and family members know – the chance of living with Stage 4 Lung Cancer is less than 10%.
At present time (July 2019), my mom is still taking her oral chemo and has positive effects from it. She is still able to live an active lifestyle and her tumors have all significantly shrunk. I hope and pray every day that we can keep her on this course and I have my mom here for many more years to come. There is so much in my life that I still need her to be here for – getting married, having kids, etc.
I didn't know much about this disease before and how there are hardly symptoms before the cancer reaches stage 4 – but after going through this, my faith in God has been restored. Miracles happen and my family was lucky enough to experience it – but I know not everyone does. I want everyone to be aware of this disease and how it can silently kill you or your loved ones. If anything seems off – you are coughing more than usual, there is blood in your spit, losing weight, etc. – it's so imperative to get checked out right away. I know people hate the expense of a doctor's visit – but that visit could save your life! Lung cancer needs more advocacy and I hope to help spread the word and prevent this from happening to more people!