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Nicole R.

In December 2015, I began having a cough that never went away. It got worse and I finally went to the doctor and he diagnosed me with bronchitis, put me on steroids and antibiotics and sent me on my way. The bronchitis never went away, it only got worse. I started having chest pains a lot, so I went to an urgent care doctor who diagnosed me with pneumonia in late January 2016.

After countless medicine, rest and time, I still wasn't getting better. I went back to get a checkup and x-ray to see if the pneumonia had resolved. It hadn't and in fact looked worse. The doctor sent me to our local hospital due to a D-dimer test positive reading. In the emergency room, I was given a cat scan. Hours later, an emergency room doctor told me I had lung cancer. I was a light smoker for 15 years and was stunned, shocked and angry with myself. Mid-February I was diagnosed with Stage IV Adenocarcinoma of the lung with mets to the brain, spine and pelvis. I was a 36 year old mother and wife. I am EGFR positive and began taking Tarceva in mid-March.

It's been a crazy 5 months with crazy side effects but all worth it! My May scans showed my brain mets gone, spine and pelvis mets healing well, and my lung tumor shrunk from almost 8 cm down to 6cm. I had scans in August which showed the same except my ling tumor shrunk down to only 1cm! At my last appointment with my oncologist, she stated I am in remission! 5 months ago, I was preparing my will, a last vacation with my husband and daughter and now I feel better than ever and am participating in a 5k run tomorrow! My oncologist told me that while I was a smoker, this disease was not from my smoking history but a gene mutation that caused this. Due to that gene mutation, I am eligible to receive targeted therapy that has saved my life!

First Published: September 9, 2016

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