LUNG FORCE Heroes
In August of 2015 I was told I had lung cancer. I did not know anything was wrong with me until I had a difficult time breathing while tackling the big hill by our home on my daily morning walk. Soon I learned that my left lung was filled with fluid and I was hospitalized to drain it. Cancer was found in my lung, on my liver and in some of my bones. Stage IV.
I was in shock. My family was supportive but devastated as well. I wasn't sure where to turn, but I was introduced to an oncologist at the hospital who then became my doctor. He told us about different options depending on biopsy results. I had the EGFR mutation and started using one of the targeted therapies. I had a good response but it only worked for about 11 months. In the meantime, I changed doctors and had a brain MRI only to discover I had some spots there that needed to be addressed. I had Whole Brain Radiation in June of 2016. Now I am on my second-line treatment, chemotherapy. So far so good.
The thing that bothers me most is how I had no symptoms to tell me something terrible was going wrong. How is it possible to discover you have cancer and that it is already at stage IV! The thing that gives me the most hope is that research has led to many new treatments and more seem to be available on a regular basis. I thank God when I see that some patients are having success with new treatments and I hope there is something in the mix that will work for me.
My family, friends, and community have been a huge source of support and encouragement for me. I have been blessed beyond belief with an outpouring of love and concern from so many people. This has helped me stay positive and given me so much encouragement to fight this disease.
Lung cancer awareness is necessary. It is not just a disease of smokers and that should not be the assumption when you hear someone has lung cancer. I have often been asked if I smoked. There are so many who never smoked and now have this disease.
Thank you for promoting lung cancer awareness. Prayers to all who are affected by lung cancer.
First published: November 2, 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.