LUNG FORCE Heroes
My journey started in June 2014. I worked full time, married with 4 young boys. Then I started to cough and had shortness of breath when I tried to talk. I went back to the doctor several times in a month, always with a diagnosis of allergies, pneumonia or a virus. After multiple visits with the same story from the doctor, I insisted that something was wrong. Then doctor ordered a CAT scan and, sure enough, multiple tumors throughout both lungs. One was attached to the heart. The diagnosis was extensive small cell lung cancer. How could this be? I just turned 40 and NEVER tried a tobacco product; I did not work with chemicals or in coal mines and my home had no radon issues.
Quickly, we found a doctor we were comfortable with and felt confident in. Chemo started, followed by radiation, a break in treatment, then chemo. It has been 19 months and still going strong and very positive.
Advice I would give to others: First, the news is devastating, cancer is the last thing anyone expects or wants. The journey is long and hard, but does get better. It becomes the new norm for your life. Secondly, you must have a support system. My husband has been my rock since the beginning. Third, stay positive. I have found staying active keeps my mind from wandering into negative thoughts and I feel normal. Finally, find a couple of close friends/relatives and your doctor you will take advice from. Everyone has a story, including the internet. If I listened to the internet I would have been dead 16 months ago. There is hope, hang onto it.
First published: March 4, 2016
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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.