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Alexandria S

My grandma passed away from stage four lung cancer in 2013 after being diagnosed in 2010. She was 77 years old when she passed away. In addition to having lung cancer, she also had COPD and emphysema. She had smoked for most of her life and then one day she decided to quit cold turkey. She didn't ease herself off of using cigarettes, didn't use a nicotine patch, and never looked back. Just one example of the incredible strength she had.

I admired the fact that she never let lung cancer define her life or stop her from living out her normal everyday life. Not only did she not let it drag her down, she gave back to the lung cancer community. She was part of a study that was trying to find the answer to why some people that smoke all their life don't get lung cancer, and those that haven't smoked all their life or sometimes not at all do get lung cancer. The results of the study found that there was a gene that could cause lung cancer if the individual had received the gene from both parents. In addition to being a part of the study, she would go to lung cancer support groups and was always a source of positivity to other lung cancer patients.

I admired her strength through such a difficult time. She lived with lung cancer for three years. She had to use an oxygen tank 24/7. She went through radiation and chemotherapy (and through some miracle didn't lose her hair). But through it all she kept to her faith, leaned on the support of her friends and family, and never gave up. Doctors gave her about six months to live and she lived way past the estimate. At many times doctors couldn't explain why she wasn't in worse condition. Her home care nurses loved to sit and talk to her. When she knew they were coming over to the house, she would always say she was doing great and wanted to get up and sit in the living room as if she was having a cocktail party and needed to entertain her guests. Her home care nurses would save her to the end of their work day so they could have maximum time talking to her and enjoying her company.

My grandma is still an inspiration to many of those having to go through some type of lung disease. After she passed away, my aunt and uncle quit smoking that day and changed their lives for the better. She always talked about the power of positivity and the importance of staying positive through such difficult times because it truly did and does make a difference. I believe that is what saved her and kept her with us for so long. Not only that, but also the millions of prayers she received. People should look at her story and see that they can make a change in their own lives. They can find the strength within to make a conscience effort to change their life around and live out a healthier lifestyle and not let anything stop them from achieving what they want to do in life.

First published: July 29, 2016

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