LUNG FORCE Heroes
My name is Avis Corley Porter of Thaxton, MS in Pontotoc County. I am honored to be requested to write an article on “My Journey with Lung Cancer.”
I am still a very active senior citizen. In August of 2017, less than a month until my 81st birthday, I had worked for three mornings in my year. My side was hurting and I went to the Pototoc Family Medical Clinic, one of North Mississippi Medical Center’s. I have been a patient there for many years. They are now my friends. My wonderful doctor, Dr. Andrea Warren, examined my side and had me go right then to the Pontotoc Hospital and have a CT scan of my side. It turned out my side was not injured, but a shadow of a lung mass showed up on my scan. A few days later, Dr. Warren had me go back for a scan of my lungs. (I found out later in my story that my cancer was Stage IV at this point) Had she not made the decision that she did I may not be telling a story at all or it would be very different. The Lord blessed me to find out before I was untreatable.
I was then sent to a Pulmonary Clinic in Tupelo, MS. There are many crosses on the wall leading to Dr. Robert McEachern’s office. They were a comfort for me. He showed me the masses on both of my lungs on the computer monitor. One was about the size of a lemon and the other the size of a pecan. He asked me if he could pray for me. He took my hand and prayed. My heart was really touched that he cared so for his patients. Then I was surprised ever more when he said that he and his family would pray for me at their home!
My next step was to go to North MS Medical Center, Cancer Care in Tupelo, where I met my wonderful oncologist, Dr. Paschal Wilson. He sent me to the Tupelo Hospital to have a biopsy several times. It was determined that I have adenocarcinoma of both lungs, Stage IV. He began me on two chemotherapy drugs, Carboplatin and Alimta on November 9, 2017. I continue on Alimta currently as a single agent. I am doing well and I believe my tumors have shrunk once. My last CT scan showed they have not spread beyond my lungs, nor have they increased in size. I have continued almost my normal life style. I can still work for several hours outside. People say that I look like nothing is wrong with me, I have actually gained weight! I do cope with side effects at home. But it is a small price to pay for my life and to be able to live alone while taking care of myself. What a blessing! My son, Adrian porter, has taken me to Tupelo to almost all that I have had done, except when my youngest great granddaughter was born. She was named after me! I chose to drive myself for chemo three times. A Thaxton friend, Rickie Earl Chaney took me to Tupelo NMMC Longtown Imaging for an MRI.
In my life I have written many poems, but only one since I have had cancer. I hope that it will continue to give home and encourage to many more than it has already touched. Many have sent cards to me to show they care, mostly my fellow Christians. One of my sisters in Christ, Bernita Brooker from Oxford, MS, wrote on one of her cards, “I hope you know that a ‘Blessing of Hope’ you are to so many of us.” These three words really touched my hear, and that was the inspiration for this poem to be written. It contains powerful words – not because they come from me but because they are based on God’s words. No matter what kind of lung or health problem you have or any kind of trouble that comes into your life, may these words be a blessing of home to your heart. May God bless you. Now I want to share this poem with you from my heart to yours.
Blessing of Hope
By Avis Corley Porter
When trouble comes your way and it is hard to bear,
With Gods help you can do it and a smile you have wear.
No use to bring a others down with a frown,
All have troubles that abound.
Be a blessing of hope to others every day.
By the life that you live and the words that you say.
A word fitly spoken is like a medicine that does good,
Like Barnabas, encourage others daily as we should.
You can do his and be an inspiration too,
You can lift their spirits and help them not to be blue.
We can help others with their heavy load to bear,
And our kindness and love we can freely share.
First published: January 4, 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.