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Lori S

"You have Stage IV lung cancer and there is no cure." I heard these words 15 years ago as I sat in a doctor's office with my mother. My healthy, strong, beautiful, non-smoking mother. Seven months later she was gone - seven months of pain, fear, and finally acceptance. I never wanted to come face to face with lung cancer again, it was the worst enemy anyone could face.

Flash forward to May 2015, and I am the one in the doctor's office hearing, "You have Stage IV lung cancer and there is no cure." Me, young, healthy, non-smoker. How could this happen??? I had been careful to tell all my doctors about my family history, the lung cancer in particular. I had been told that lung cancer is almost never hereditary, and no concern was ever voiced. Apparently, I am the "almost never". I cannot begin to articulate the pain - both physically and emotionally - fear and helplessness that you experience with this diagnosis. Life comes to a halt as you process and adapt, knowing that your life, however long or short that is, will never be the same. I am more fortunate than my mother, I have made it a year and a half so far, thanks to medical advances and support from my husband, family and friends. It astounds me how much people do not know lung cancer is also a deadly " non-smokers" disease, and can happen to anyone. We need much more funding for education, finding better treatments, or may I dare say, a cure. I hope in my lifetime is see that change, so that no one has to hear those words.

First published: November 9, 2016

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