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Trish A.

My name is Trish and I am 51 years old. Thanks to lung cancer, I am also a widow. My husband and soulmate of 27 years lost his battle with small cell lung cancer on September 6, 2015. Alex was a former smoker but had decided to quit long before he was ever diagnosed with any lung diseases.

He had started smoking when he was 10 years old in 1956. He and his brothers helped their uncle in the tobacco fields and would always sneak behind the barns and smoke a few of the tobacco leaves that they had stuffed in their pockets. That's how it all began. At one point, he was smoking 4 packs of cigarettes a day. But he cut back to just 2 packs and stayed there for years. Then one day, many years later, he decided he was just done with the cigarettes and what they were doing to his body. He quit cold turkey on December 31, 2005. Four years later, he was diagnosed with emphysema and in 2015, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

He tried to beat the cancer. He did radiation and chemotherapy but the cancer was stronger than his body was (but not his spirit). He decided that he wanted his time left to be without any pain and went on hospice. We had about 6 weeks with him after he quit the treatments. It was a bittersweet time for us. We got to say what we needed to say and there were no regrets. But at the same time, we saw our strong, fierce protector losing his battle and it cut us to the core. He died peacefully in the hospice facility.

This May, I will be participating in the LUNG FORCE Walk in his honor. I am doing this to bring awareness to the struggles that the lung disease patients face and to raise funds for research to someday bring an end to the pain and suffering that these diseases bring to patients and families.

First Published: April 18, 2016

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