LUNG FORCE Heroes
My journey began over 50 years ago, on the day I decided to take my first "drag" on a cigarette. I was 17 years old and for the past 50 years I had been a smoker.
In October of 2016, I started having trouble breathing and having chest pain. I went to my physician to see what was going on. They recommended and sent me to have a scan. A spot was located on my right lung so they gave me a diagnosis of lung cancer.
It took about three weeks before I started to have my first round of treatments. My oncologist started me out with radiation and chemo. Overall, I had 35 radiation treatments and seven chemo treatments. It was a long, tiring journey. Within a six month to a year span, I was given the "green light" and all was well.
Unfortunately, 13 months after being in remission, the cancer came back. This time, I underwent 30 more rounds of radiation and I was also put on a medicine called Opdivo. This drug is used to fight all cancer cells that are present in the body. Since I have been on the medication, I have been in remission about a year.
It was truly a challenge to be at my age going through cancer, not once but twice. I now make sure that I see my doctor regularly to account for my white blood cell levels.
I truly thank God for being here today because I could have been gone for a choice that I made over 50 years ago. I would advise anyone who gets lung cancer or any cancers to adhere to your doctor's recommendation. This is the "grace" that saved my life! I must say, funny part is that it took me to get to the "rip" age of 66 for it all to catch up with me. Look at "grace" again!
I am still very active doing all the things I like to do. I go out and work in my yard and I pastor a church. I've been a pastor now for about 7 years come this April 14, 2019.
I truly thank God for my wife and my children who stood by my side through this very "life altering" journey.
First published: March 19, 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.