Vicky F

Vicky F., NC

I am a single mom of a joyful 5 yr old daughter.  I am an Information Technology (IT) remote worker for more than 12 years. I love outdoor summer evening concerts, cultural festivals, dancing with my daughter, princess tea parties, traveling to beaches, and generally enjoying life. I was also a fitness instructor and I have never smoked a cigarette in my life.

I was diagnosed in Oct 2018 around Halloween. One day in spin class at the gym where I taught, I could not breathe and I had to leave class early, just like the week prior.  That was a Monday. That Wednesday I went to my primary care physician for a check-up. That Thursday, I went for a chest x-ray and Friday I was I was at the Oncologist. I heard those 3 words “You have Cancer”, Stage 4 lung Cancer.  After I heard those words, I only heard Charlie Brown teacher’s voice coming out of the Oncologist’s mouth. (“Wonk, wonk, wonk, waa, waa”).  On the drive home, I was in shock and stayed that way for the next 3 days.

When I “woke up”, I had to get my mind right, shake it off, focus on the resolution, meaning I WAS GOING TO SURVIVE!. The next week, I was in my first of several radiation sessions for my brain, spine and hips. My brain had seven spots and the cancer had metasticized to my spine and hips. My right lung was drained weekly over a period of months.  I was also put on oxygen. Over the next few months, I had more radiation treatments and eventually lost my hair for the first time.  If you have never had radiation on your brain, they put you in a mask that reminds you of Hanibel Lecter and to accomodate for the oxygen, they place the hose through the mask, then you slide into the machine.

I had blood clots that caused me to be rushed to the hospital on Christmas day after opening presents that morning with my then 3 year old daughter.  I was in the hospital for a week until New Years and I came home in a wheel chair, with oxygen and lived downstairs on one corner of the couch, still going to treatment.  I graduated to a walker with physical therapy and eventually lost the walker, but had to keep the oxygen, tethered to a 26 foot hose for 8 months.  I lost my IT job of 11 years and went unemployed for the next year. I am now employed remotely in a Senior IT technical position and my daughter is now in kindergarten.

I attribute my survival to never admitting, allowing defeat, or dealing with negative thoughts. I can always pause to take a deep exhale, when I need to rest, but then I press forward. I focus on what I can do and not what I cannot do.  I made everything an accomplishment, and my motivation was my joyous daughter.  I did not care about the known statistics of lung cancer, this was ME and I have always been unique in strength, mind, body, and spirit.

Following my Oncologist’s treatment plan plus adding some natural path treatments, and taking advantage of patient support services have gotten me to where I will survive. A clean diet, fasting, lots of water, A-Z supplements, IV high dose Vitamin C treatments, daily exercise on my Peloton, or scootering with my daughter outside is how I thrive.  I still have the cancer but it no longer has me. My positive mind set, a strong will, constant prayer, and my village support system has brought me to no spots anymore in my brain and a belief in the positive forces that were invited into my life, as well as letting go of all negative forces, situations, and people.

The importance of the work being done by the American Lung Association are the facts that: They gave me 20 free rides from and to chemotherapy. They support laws that protect the air we breathe. They offer education, inspiring stories, advocacy, development of earlier testing, and provide information on all lung health topics. I am thankful to have the American Lung Association as part of my support system. Together, with action, we can conquer the work that is ahead to ensure Lung Cancer gets the funding to keep driving awareness, research, and pursuing laws to support health care coverage.

First Published: February 1, 2021

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