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Judith J.

Driving to Florida for a winter vacation in March of 2015, my Primary Doctor calls me to tell me that, after looking at my MRI, I have lung cancer and the story began.

I had a lumpectomy of my right lung in April. That was followed by 16 weeks of cisplatin chemotherapy, then 30 days of radiation. Several weeks after that I was having pain in my back so went to see an Orthopedic Specialist who informed me that I had a tumor on my 5th lumbar which turned out to be cancer. Planning to once again visit Florida for several weeks at that time, and my Oncologist said it would be okay to go and we could take care of it when I returned.

One week into our vacation I started talking strangely and didn’t know how to do some common things. My husband took me to Boca Raton Regional Hospital where we found out I had a bleeding brain tumor on the left side and a peanut sized tumor on the right. They had recently opened the Marcus Neurology Center and it was there that, five days later, I had brain surgery and the tumor was removed. Several weeks after that I had radiation on both the right side of my brain and also on the tumor on my lumbar. Things were going well until a CT Scan showed that I now had a lesion in my pancreas. I was then scheduled to have carboplatin chemotherapy.

During this 12-week period I had several blood units and three platelets given. It was not a good time. At the end I still had the lesion in my pancreas. At this point, 5 months after going to Florida, I was able to return home to NJ and begin going to Memorial Sloan Kettering again.

During this entire time the pain in my leg kept getting worse so that finally in July I had surgery connecting my 4th and 6th lumbar as my 5th had been destroyed with cancer and then radiation. That made a huge improvement in my life. Unfortunately, after continuing on treatment for four months, I still had the lesion in my pancreas and spots on my left lung. They decided to put me on immunotherapy. After eight weeks, the CT Scan showed the cancer was gone!!!! What a great day that was in October 2016. I stayed on immunotherapy for two years which brought me to the present time.

In the last nine months I had a small lesion at the bottom of my right neck and then one on my cerebrum, both of which were radiated. My last CT Scan showed a lesion on the outside of my left lung. A biopsy showed that it was cancer. That ended Immunotherapy for me. Now I am being tested to see if I can join a trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering. The only problem I am facing is that the lesion on my lung may be to small. So that is my story up until now.

First published: November 29, 2018

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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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