This is the face of lung cancer. I walk because I am proof that it can happen to anyone and we need to unite and find a cure.
My story is one of luck and hope for those yet undiagnosed. In November of 2016, I hurt my shoulder and during an MRI, the radiologist noted a nodule on my lung. As a 40-year-old never-smoker that was otherwise in perfect health, I was surprised at the finding. So was my new pulmonologist when I saw him and the recommendation was just to monitor it via CTs scans. After it grew slightly after three months, now still under a cm in diameter, I had a biopsy which revealed that it was benign.
The treatment plan was to continue to just monitor it indefinitely on a quarterly basis. Being uncomfortable with leaving it inside me and exposing myself to all the CT radiation for monitoring, I pushed to have surgery to have it removed. Why is all this detail important? Because on August 1, 2017 I had a lung wedge resection performed and when I awoke from surgery, my physician team informed me that the mass was actually adenocarcinoma, a form of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC.). Yes, I had a negative biopsy and it was inaccurate. They were able to remove the stage 1 tumor entirely and the surrounding lymph nodes tested negative, so I didn’t require any further treatment.
Based on my unrelated shoulder injury that enabled us to find the nodule and my determination to have it removed, I am a lung cancer survivor. Not everyone is this lucky. I want to use my voice and new lease on life to speak for those who have been tragically taken.
Please be aware, aggressive, and take action. Together we can win the fight against lung cancer. Thank you for taking part in Lung Force 2017 and for your contribution to this critical cause.