This website uses cookies. By continuing you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

  • Share this page:


Alexis D.

I was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer in July, 2014, just two months after my 64th birthday. My diagnosis was a shock, given by an oncologist I had just met and a prognosis that was dire, 6-9 months. The cancer was advanced and I was not eligible for any treatment, no surgery, chemo or radiation. The cancer was aggressive.

A cancer patient is forever changed by their diagnosis but what we do next is most important. If you are a ‘glass half empty’ type you might say you’ve being cheated. I did feel a loss, I had four adult children and four grandchildren. I wanted to be there for all that life has to give. A dear friend reminded me that I still had an option to get a second opinion. That's exactly what we did and now we were in business.

A second opinion at KU Medical Center brought hope, and that's all I needed, a little daylight. Before any other treatment began, my doctor's plan was to perform a cervical lymph node biopsy testing for a tumor marker that would secure eligibility for a biological treatment. The result was 100% positive for ROS1. I have received the same NSCL cancer treatment - Xalkori, for over five years! Life isn't the same but I've been given an opportunity to change the way I live my life.

Early detection and advanced treatment options for all lung cancer patients is long overdue. I once read that when one faces adversity, your individual response is highly indicative of your outcome. For me, my response is to choose joy. Life is tough, but in a very strange twist, cancer is teaching me to be joyful. When I look at each of my four children, it’s almost like seeing them for the first time. Really seeing them. I try to focus and memorize everything about them, expressions, sense of humor, and their love. I’m embracing all of it. I'm thankful for my children and ten siblings for the constant love and support they give me. During a prolonged hospital stay, I was never alone because my family took shifts to be by my side. My sincere appreciation and thanks to our physicians, research and medical staff and all other service organizations like the American Lung Association. Early detection and advanced treatment options for all lung cancer patients are long overdue!

First published: January 13, 2020

  Share this story:
Tell your story View all stories Donate

American Lung Association is solely responsible for content.

Hero stories are the point of view of the Hero and not necessarily the American Lung Association. The Lung Association does not endorse any specific provider, facility or treatment.


Donate to LUNG FORCE

Get Involved


Events Near Me

Lung Health Barometer


Sponsors & Supporters


Sign up for updates

Get the latest news and information on the fight against lung cancer and for lung health.

Red button with telephone
Ask An Expert

Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Get help
Red button of two hand prints
We need your generous support

Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

Button of turquoise LUNG FORCE swirl

LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

Get involved
Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
Donate Now.