LUNG FORCE Heroes
On Oct. 11th, 2018 I went for my annual well physical. Sitting with my doctor as she asked all the usual questions, I asked her why so many people that I knew are getting sick. With that, I tell her about a friend that was diagnosed three weeks earlier with lung cancer. I then ask when the last time I had a chest x-ray was. Dr. Shapiro said four years ago but it’s not part of a “well” checkup. She said “unless you tell me you have a cough”. I didn’t have a cough and said maybe I’ll do it next year. I then changed my mind and said, “You know what, I think I have a cough!”
The doctor knew I was always nervous as I had lost my sister the year prior to Leukemia. So, I proceed to have my normal check up and then go have my chest X-ray. The doctor walks in the room and says - you have a spot on your lung! I thought she was kidding! She said I am so not kidding and my nurse is getting preauthorization for you to go have a CT scan.
I leave the office in disbelief - schedule an appointment for 5 p.m. that night and call my husband and say we might have a problem! The next day I get the news I have a mass the size of a golf ball in the center of the upper left lobe of my lung. I then met with a thoracic surgeon that day and scheduled surgery for a week later to remove the lobe of my lung. Once biopsied, it was determined I had adenocarcinoma lung cancer.
The surgery went really well and easy - it was done robotically so a very quick recovery. Seven lymph nodes had been removed and tested and one was slightly affected. Because of that I have had three rounds of chemo and my last one this coming week. I am very lucky and will be fine. I was totally symptom free - I exercise and spin three days a week! Never a real smoker and it has been 30 years since I had a cigarette! Something needs to be done with our screening process. It should be an annual part of an exam. I’ve heard too many stories that aren’t as fortunate as mine. I will advocate for this cause for the rest of my life.
First published: February 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.