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LUNG FORCE Heroes

Bill S.

Hi everyone - I am Bill and ...
I am an (almost 7 year) lung cancer survivor.

I am a never smoker, who never thought would be dealing with Lung Cancer.
June 13th, 2012 brought this fact home: anyone with lungs can get Lung Cancer.

I went through 6 months of tests to get to my diagnosis.
On a sales trip in Ft. Lauderdale at the end of 2011, I felt horribly sick.
When I got home, I went immediately to my doctor. I was diagnosed with pneumonia.
I continued to have a few bouts of pneumonia, as I was told that is quite common.
I continued to work at my job,but my symptoms changed to breathing difficulties.
After scans, a bronchoscopy, and two lung biopsies, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 EGFR Lung Cancer.
I was told the good news is I had a mutation, and I am going to be on targeted therapy. I had no clue what that meant.
It wound up being a game changer for me.
I stayed on Tarceva for 18 months, and then as with a lot of targeted therapies, it started to loose it's efficiency.
I moved into a clinical trial at Mass General in Boston.
I responded very well to a trial targeted therapy C0-1696 from Clovis.
I wound up on that for 2 years, having dealt with some setbacks along the way.
My gall bladder being removed, as well as cataract surgery on both eyes as a result of the treatment.
All in all, the treatment saved my life. There were no other FDA approved drugs to turn to.
When the trial drug started to loose it's efficiency (after 2 years) I was fortunate to move right into an expanded access trial with Astra Zeneca (Tagrisso)
That drug has been nothing short of sensational. I have been on that for over 3 1/2 years! Yay!!

To say I am around after the devastating diagnosis almost 7 years ago is somewhat remarkable.
I truly believe my success is due to a few things:
The love and care of my family (it is invaluable)
I can't say enough for how much my wife (Teri) has been there with my every step of the way.
Surgeries, scans, biopsies, you can't even imagine.
Medical care 2nd to none- I can not thank my doctors and all the nurses enough!
Last- being so fortunate as to have world class drugs that would not have been available to me had I been diagnosed only a few years earlier.

I truly believe having a positive attitude is huge plus in defeating this.

I love to say that not only am I surviving- I am thriving!

First published: March 26, 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.

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