LUNG FORCE Heroes
About ten years ago, my younger sister called me and said her arm had "stopped working." She had been fighting what she had been told was pneumonia for several months. I was concerned about the possibility of lung cancer as she had been a smoker for many years and had recently had extreme weight loss. Because she was a low-income Medicaid patient, the hospital was reluctant to perform expensive scans even with her history. I insisted she have a scan and she was diagnosed with Stage IV lung non-small cell lung cancer. By the time she was diagnosed, it had spread to lymph, adrenal glands, liver, and brain.
I took care of her with the help of amazing hospice workers until she died three months later at the age of 49. A couple of years after my sister died, my oldest brother was diagnosed with stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer. He had been asymptomatic when diagnosed. He had extensive radiation and chemotherapy and participated in several clinical trials. He lived for six years after diagnosis. Three years ago, my next oldest brother was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. His was discovered when he had a routine preoperative x-ray - he was asymptomatic when diagnosed. I took care of him for the last three-four months of his life - he died on Dec. 24, 2014.
I have one brother left.
First published: December 11, 2015
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