LUNG FORCE Heroes
I was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer in mid 2016; I never smoked cigarettes or marijuana and never used any type of recreational drugs. I’ve heard of other people having cancer but I never thought that I would be a victim of this terrible disease.
The day doctors told me I have Lung Cancer I actually felt like I had an “Out of body experience” and wondered “Why me?”
I was so scared, I asked doctors “How long do I have left to live?” and they estimated about six months to two years. After getting a biopsy of the tumor in my lung I was very lucky to learn that I was one of the 3%-5% who have an ALK mutation (Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase-positive). This means that I qualified to take targeted chemo for treatment. I started on this treatment, started to eat healthier and got back in running again. I even went into weightlifting with my husband (caregiver). I was literally “Running for my life” to battle this cancer.
After six months of exercising and eating healthy I had lost about 30 lbs and most of the cancer disappeared except for the tumor that shrunk down to just scar tissue. After one year of clear scans I was in temporary remission until my feet started to get swollen and I had to stop the targeted chemo treatment. I was off medication for three months and my next scan showed the scar tissue had progression and this time there was a small tumor in my brain. I immediately started taking the next generation targeted chemo treatment and my scans are looking clear again.
Currently in 2019, I am back to work, I have 2 adult children and I am happily married for 27 years. My husband is an awesome caregiver who always goes to every appointment with me and does all the research in looking for the next best treatment or cure.
First published: January 10, 2019
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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.