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Anne F.

My family has a long history of heart disease, so I always expected that would be my health problem to deal with. Sometimes life doesn't give you what you're expecting. I certainly never expected to get lung cancer, having never smoked, lived with smokers or worked in conditions that exposed me to carcinogens. But that's what life gave me four years ago.

Looking for cracked ribs after a bad fall, a chest X-ray discovered a mass in my lung - but no cracked ribs. I never expected a call from my doctor telling me news like that on a Friday afternoon. No symptoms. No family history. How could that be? But there was no time to wonder about the "whys," so I got the cracked ribs a week later when the surgeon removed my left lung.

Since I'm not a marathon runner, I seldom miss that extra lung power. My kids say I can yell just as loud as ever!

Sometimes our health is what our lifestyle or genetics might predict - like smoking and lung cancer - but sometimes the unexpected pops up. Either way, be aggressive about protecting your health with regular medical checkups and prompt attention to warning signs. Ignorance is not bliss.

First published: December 12, 2016

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