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LUNG FORCE Heroes

Nancy D.

It always happens to someone else...until it happens to you. Besides, my doctor had said I could wait TWO years now between physicals...”picture of health”! Never a smoker...a “young” and active 64 year old... Then, on the morning of Tuesday, February 6, while showering for work, I fainted and got sick in the shower. My husband insisted he take me to the ER. After numerous scans, tests and hours of speculation, we first heard the diagnosis...”Stage 4,non small cell lung cancer with metastasis to the brain and liver.” And the golf ball size tumor in my brain is what triggered this unexpected trip. Why me? Why not me? My mind raced about seven years back to my friend’s husband, Paul....same diagnosis! There was NO treatment available for him... At age 53, he passed, leaving three daughters and a devastated family...never having hope.

What options were there now, in 2018? My son, was flying in right away from China, my husband and daughter were sobbing in the hallway. My husband had just lost his only brother three months ago to cancer. What would the doctor advise? Was there anything available for MY lung cancer? As a Christian, I have no fear of dying...but I hadn’t seen my son or my daughter get married...or possibly have children...or begin to touch that bucket list with my husband!

Two weeks of brain radiation came first. Then, my very astute Oncologist tested my cancer cells for a gene mutation as the primary cause. What an amazing answer to our prayers when the results came back positive for the EGFR mutation! A pill had JUST become available...Tagrisso...or "Lazarus pill" some call it, to target this mutation. Take it one time a day...every day...and it will kill this cancer, even crossing the blood/brain barrier! Eight months later now, I am in remission! The cancer has retired me from my job of 45 years as a Dental Hygienist. But, I have time, and hope and such an amazing support group! But, what about the other people who are still waiting for THEIR miracle drug to be discovered? So, it was my family that heard the lung cancer diagnosis this year...in February of 2018. I pray that the funding will be there for needed research and discovery; so it won’t be your son, your daughter, your spouse, in the future.

First published: November 26, 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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