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Norma G.

In October of 2016, I consulted a doctor for a persistent cough I had for a couple of months. A chest x-ray revealed what they thought may be pneumonia or a possible mass. They suggested a CT scan of the lungs. I battled my insurance company for the next 2 1/2 months to get the CT approved. In January when I finally managed to get approval, the CT scan showed a 5.7 cm mass in my right lung. I waited a week while referrals were supposedly in the works, but again did not trust our healthcare system to be quick enough for me.

I contacted a doctor at UCLA who set me up with a lung surgeon asap. Most of my right lung was removed and I did have chemotherapy after the surgery. I am now 2 1/2 years cancer free this time around. The most important thing I want to say is a patient has to be their own biggest advocate, they have to fight through the system as hard as they can, because the time matters. And above all, take care of your lungs! Do not smoke and exercise regularly, live a healthy lifestyle. You don't realize how much you miss that other lung until it is gone, and how you just took breathing for granted!

First published: June 6, 2019

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