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LUNG FORCE Heroes

Susan S.

I am a life-long asthma sufferer and have been diagnosed with my share of respiratory infections. I was diagnosed with yet another respiratory infection in October of 2006.

After the two-week course of antibiotics, I knew this was different. My primary care was booked so I saw the Nurse Practitioner. She immediately sent me for a chest x-ray. I received a call from my primary care informing me that there was a spot on my lung that needed further investigation.

I already had a relationship with an oncologist as I was in a study for breast cancer treatment because both my mother and sister had the disease. I called the oncologist, had a ct scan, mri and pet scan. Then came the biopsy, collapsed lung and diagnosis of lung cancer. I was diagnosed with Non-Small Andenocarcinoma stage IIB. I was floored! The doctor wanted to operate immediately but, I had a once in a lifetime vacation with my parents planned for December 13. The thorasic surgeon decided we could wait for January 2007. After surgery I decided to do chemotherapy.

The chemo trashed my body and after two blood transfusions, the doctor and I decided to call it quits. Then I had to figure out my new normal. I admit I was floundering. The effects of the chemo made it impossible to do my job of software test engineer and I was forced into retirement. My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer shortly after I was. I was too ill with the chemo to be of much help to her. After I got back to a normal life my focus was helping my parents. I watched my mother fail as she lost her battle with her lung cancer and my dad fail after that.

I now advocate for lung cancer awareness in as many venues as I can. I focus on early detection in my advocacy! It worked for me!

First published: October 2, 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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