Who would have thought mentioning to my Primary Care Physician that I needed something for a slight cough, while there for another issue would lead to a diagnosis of Non Small Cell Lung Cancer thirty days later?
My doctor sent me to have an X-ray, which saved my life. I was diagnosed with Pneumonia, given antibiotics, a repeat x-ray, different antibiotics and third X-ray. After no resolution, I was sent straight to the STAT (Special Teams and Treatments) section of the Cancer center. There I met with an Oncologist, Pulmonologist, Radiologic Oncologist and Thoracic Surgeon. They ordered a PET scan and within two days I underwent a bronchoscopy with biopsy of the lower lobe of my left lung. The biopsy revealed adenocarcinoma and ten days later I had surgery to remove my left lung and fifteen positive nodes. My only symptom had been a nagging cough, and had I not mentioned it to my physician who then requested an X-ray, I would not be here today. How often have you had a cough that you thought was allergies or something simple?
Lung Cancer may not have clear cut symptoms, which leads to an immediate diagnosis. Lung Cancer also has the stigma of being associated with smoking or exposure to second hand smoke, but if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer without exposure to smoking. My attitude is gratitude and I am blessed each and every day I can wake up and enjoy life. We need to spread the word about lung cancer and proactively support lung cancer research. We need lung cancer mentors to guide us as we go through our journey of treatment. Never give up the fight!