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LUNG FORCE Heroes

Susan M.

LUNG FORCE Hero Susan M.

First, I am so thankful to have the opportunity to share my story. I truly believe that God has directed me to share it and try to help just one person.

I had been a smoker for more than 20 years but had finally managed to stop the year before. I was working on my fitness and trying to improve my health, I had excitement for the future and NO signs (persistent cough, history of asthma, COPD) that life was about to change. Drastically.

Almost three years ago, my family and I prepared for big changes. After more than 10 years on the night shift I was moved to a daytime position. Our kids were in high school and didn't need rides and help with homework like they used to so when the opportunity came up, I jumped at it. I would finally be home for dinners with the family! Right around that time I started having really bad headaches. After a visit to the doctor and following advice that didn't help, I went to the hospital with my husband. A scan was done, a decision was made to send me to a different hospital, and I was on my way. I woke up in the neurological intensive care unit of the second hospital and spent the next several days learning that the headaches were caused by tumors in my brain, bleeding tumors. Brain cancer. Then we learned the brain cancer was secondary to Stage 4 lung cancer which had traveled to my brain. Lung cancer? Before I left the hospital I was given an idea of my life expectancy - six to twelve months!

I did not realize yet what a fighting spirit I had! I guess it took an experience like this to activate it? Thanks to proactive doctors at the top of their fields and the research that is being advanced daily, to my faith in God and the feeling that He just wasn't done with me yet, to my family and colleagues, that fighting spirit sprang from me and has continued to grow. In December 2018 I was told my tumors haven't grown in more than a year. The lead doctor said I was a walking Christmas present! All my caregivers have remarked that a positive attitude is key. I believe that. My gratitude grows with each new morning and each night when I say my prayers my faith grows too. It's not been an easy road (so far) and I don't know how long my journey is, but I'm trying to meet each day with a positive spirit and make each day meaningful.

First published: February 1, 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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