“I appreciate my breath…It’s very scary to not be able to breathe.”

Retired Teacher Excited for Lung Association Walk in Wheaton following Recent Diagnosis

“"It came out of nowhere!” That’s how Madonna Mueller of Lombard describes her June 15, 2023, lung cancer diagnosis. The retired teacher was getting ready for a trip to Florida when she decided to stop by urgent care to take care of a cough.

I was coughing for honestly a couple of months, but on and off. No other symptoms. I didn’t feel sick. I didn’t feel like I had a cold. I don’t have allergies and people were saying well maybe you developed them. People develop them later in life,” said Mueller.

Health officials gave Mueller a chest x-ray followed by a CT scan about a half hour later after they saw something “concerning”. Mueller says the scan showed she had cancer in her chest cavity, that had spread to her liver and adrenal glands.

“So, from there my journey began with the pet scans, and a biopsy and finding out I had stage 4 non-small cell adenocarcinoma. I was in shock.”

Mueller started targeted therapy treatment with Northwestern Medicine this summer and has been feeling a lot better. Since her diagnosis she says she’s already seeing what research has done, what doctors are doing and learning about the need for funding to help people with lung disease.

When she heard about the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Walk, presented by Northwestern Medicine, at Cantigny Park (1S151 Winfield Rd) in Wheaton on September 16th, she was excited to participate.

Mueller is looking forward to the camaraderie of other people who might be dealing with lung disease at this year’s walk, plus learning more about it at the Family Health and Resource Fest.

“Now that I’m starting to feel better, I want to see how far I can walk. My doctor told me to get out and walk and see how far you can go,” said Mueller. “I understand you can get off the path at some point, so if I’m done walking, that’s okay. If I end up at the finish line cheering on people as they come in, I’ll do what I can do.”

Her brother has put together a team and she’s been lightly training to walk either the 5k or 1.5-mile walking path at Cantigny Park. Registration for the September 16th event is completely free! For more information, or to register for the event, visit LUNGFORCE.org/Chicago.

Mueller urges people to ask for a chest x-ray with their yearly physicals or get a lung scan yearly much like a mammogram.

"A lot of my friends are like I appreciate my breath…it’s very scary to not be able to breathe. It’s very terrifying,” said Mueller. “I couldn’t do this without my family and friends. Their love and support have carried me and I have felt held on this journey…they’re absolutely amazing.”

To request an interview with Madonna Mueller, please contact Janye Killelea via email at [email protected] or call (312) 940-7624.

For more information, contact:

Janye Killelea
[email protected]

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