Patricia F

Patricia F., AR

Prior to February 2008 my life was going great, and my Mom was my best friend. She was 78 and super active. In January, however, she suddenly became fatigued and began losing weight. She was an ex-smoker who had quit 20+ years ago.

She was hospitalized under suspicion of having pneumonia. After a few days of her not getting better, we sent her for a CT chest which revealed enlarged lymph nodes. She was biopsied and found to have lung cancer. Before we could make many future treatment plans, she developed blood clots in both lungs and ended up on the ventilator. Before we knew it, she worsened and the decision was made to remove her from the ventilator. She passed away 19 days after she entered the hospital. We were all devastated by the speed of it all. The physicians and hospital staff were very supportive. My dad had just gone through a knee replacement and his life changed forever, as she died while he was in rehab.

In 2010, I accepted a new job as a nurse practitioner working with lung cancer. At times, my emotions were raw remembering our journey. However, in 2011 the results came out regarding The National Lung Cancer Screening Trial. This certainly got my attention. In 2014 I helped start a screening program in our hospital and have been involved in it ever since. My passion to see lung cancer caught early and also to discuss smoking cessation with all who need it has been a priority for me.

Knowing the importance of screening, I had a sister who was 3 years older and who had smoked since she was a teenager. I called her and encouraged her to get screened. She did and in 1 day, she was notified that her scan was abnormal. Ultimately, she was seen by a surgeon, had a minimally invasive surgery, and was cured of her cancer. She has lived 5 years beyond that surgery and has done very well, even quitting smoking the day she saw her surgeon.

Lung cancer has impacted my family in many different ways. Working as a nurse practitioner with the lung cancer screening program, I have found the priority is to find early lung cancer and save lives.

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