LUNG FORCE Heroes
At age 37 I was diagnosed with stage 1b non-small cell adenocarcinoma. Lung cancer! How could someone who was a female, young and a non-smoker get lung cancer? How could I get lung cancer? The question just kept running through my head.
For about 18 months I had been dealing with some back pain that just wouldn't go away. I had seen several doctors and even a spine specialist who told me that I needed to just have a bowel movement, but nobody could find anything significantly medically wrong with me. In January of 2011, I was referred to another spine specialist. This Dr. spent about 10 minutes in his exam room with me and ordered a same day MRI/CT. Three days later he called and told me that it wasn't back problems I had, but the scan showed I had a "mass" on the lower right lobe of my lung. The radiologist was suspicious of lung cancer. I was sent to my general practitioner who did an x-ray in his office. Radiologist again had suspicion of lung cancer. Protocol was to treat this mass as if it were pneumonia, even though I was not sick or experiencing any symptoms of pneumonia. I was given antibiotics and told to come back in one week to repeat the chest x-ray. Chest x-ray was repeated after one week, but the mass was still there and had not decreased at all.
My general practitioner consulted with radiology oncology. Again, suspicion of lung cancer. I was then sent to an oncologist to talk about a biopsy. Did biopsy and it concluded stage 1b adenocarcinoma. March 17, 2011 I had a lower right lobectomy of my lung. 4 weeks later I started chemotherapy. I did 6 rounds of chemotherapy that lasted 4 months. Now, almost 5 years later I am still cancer free!
In November of 2013, lung cancer hit my family again. My Grandma, 83 years old, was also diagnosed with lung cancer. Unfortunately, she was inoperable, incurable. She fought for almost 2 years. She passed away September 2015.
After my Grandma was diagnosed in 2013, I decided I needed to do something. I needed to get involved and raise awareness for lung cancer. I scoured the internet searching for lung cancer organizations touching base with as many as I could find. In 2014, I attended a patient advocacy round table and it really opened my eyes to the need that lung cancer patients need a voice! Lung cancer does not discriminate! I am a Mother, a Grandma, a Daughter, a Sister, a Wife, a Granddaughter, an Aunt, a Friend, and I AM A LUNG CANCER SURVIVOR. It is time we change the face of lung cancer and raise awareness! It is my passion and mission to work with organizations like Lung Force to fight for lung cancer awareness!
First published: January 25, 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.