At the age of 37, nodules were found on my lung, but after several CT scans and a PET scan, it was determined they were benign. I had periodic scans over the next few years that showed no change. After having a benign mass removed from my pancreas, my surgical oncologist decided to biopsy my lung so that I no longer needed to worry about the nodules. I was reassured by several physicians that I had nothing to worry about. The scans did not change over 10 years, and I had no symptoms of lung cancer. During my biopsy, my lung collapsed, and I saw the face of my doctor- I knew even before the results came back that it was positive. I received the official news the next day. All I heard was, “I am so sorry. I cannot believe I am telling you this, but you have adenocarcinoma of the lung.” The next month was a blur of appointments to the cardiothoracic surgeon, the pulmonologist, and the lab.
On March 22, 2021, I had the upper right lobe of my lung removed. My family and friends were the most amazing support group. My healthcare team championed right alongside of us. I can honestly say that they uplifted me even during the scary times, keeping my spirits up. The hardest part of being diagnosed was the stigma associated with it. I felt I was being judged because it was lung cancer. I never smoked, and I felt like I needed to start every conversation with those words. This is my biggest goal- to rid the stigma surrounding lung cancer. Luckily for me, I was given a clean bill of health and have the rest of my life to help spread those words. No one should ever feel ashamed of this diagnosis.