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LUNG FORCE Heroes

Nancy H.

My journey started September of 2014. I was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. My doctor noticed a spot that did not look normal. I set up with an appointment at the Lung Nodule Clinic. The doctor there had me come in every 6 months for a scan. Things turned different on my Dec. 2016 scan which should have been my last one. The nodule went from a little dot to a bright mass.

Now the wheels started turning. I had a biopsy and was diagnosed with Stage 1A Non Small Cell Squamous Cancer. My girlfriend Sue was sick and at the hospital for pneumonia the same time I was diagnosed. My friend and I were going to battle this together.

I saw a lung surgeon and he gave me the choice of surgery right away or radiation. I asked what the cure rate is for each. I was told 3% between the two. Surgery at least 6 weeks of recovery or radiation with some side effects. I went for radiation. My Radiation Oncologist was my saviour.

My friend Sue was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and was going to start chemo the same time I was starting radiation. My procedure was called SAABR. Over the first two weeks of Feb. 2017 set up was done for my treatment. At the same time I was visiting Sue across the street. Things are not looking good for her. She had been admitted because she could not breath. 

Now the fun began for me. Tattoos, being sucked to a table, arms above head and do not fall asleep. My last treatment was March 3, 2017. Sue had gone home for a few days. Day of my last treatment she was back in the hospital. After my treatment I went over to see her on March 3rd. March 4th she took her last breath and went to heaven.

My journey and Sue's had two different outcomes. If it wasn't for early lung screening I would not be here. There are no symptoms in early stages of lung cancer. By the time you find out, it is to late. October 2019 I lost another friend to lung cancer. When she found out, she was in the last stage. My cousin was also diagnosed with stage 2 lung cancer. She found hers while being treated for something unrelated. I am almost 3 years cancer free.

First published: November 13, 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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