Milli W.

photo of Milli W.

I've never met her, but Eva Marie saved my life; The doctors saved my life; I'm forever grateful.

I saved my life because I took action by requesting a low-dose CT scan with my primary doctor. I am a lung cancer THRIVER!

Let me tell you a little about myself. My name is Millicent Wilson, I am a 62-year-old mother of 2 and a grandmother of 5 and I love to sing! My favorite song is "At Last" by Miss Etta James.

I've won many competitions at state and national levels for my singing. I've watched my mother and brother die of lung cancer.  I was their caretaker. It was extremely difficult, as they were both diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell adenocarcinoma.  It was too late...my mother had surgery and radiation...my brother radiation. Neither survived a year after diagnosis. I was at both their bedsides when they took their last breath. That was 20 years ago...when scans were not available. I never thought that lung cancer was something that could happen to me; even though I smoked for more than 40 years and I had family that died from it...I was in denial.

I will admit, I like to watch Bravo...and like most people I record my shows, so that I can fast forward over the commercials...but something caught my eye. 
I saw Eva Marie climbing up a mountain of cigarette butts.

I recently learned that this commercial was part of the American Lung Association LUNG FORCE Campaign to encourage people at high risk to get a low dose CT-scan for early detection of lung cancer. I did a rewind and paid close attention to the message, and I fit the profile. At my next Dr Visit I requested the low dose CT scan. This was done in March of 2018. I was diagnosed with lung cancer in April of 2018. I had no symptoms!

All of my doctors and nurses and other health care professionals at Lovelace made me feel like family. I felt it then, and I still feel the caring and support!

One year ago this month, the doctors removed a 6 centimeter mass from my right lung, about the size of a make-up compact. It was an extremely painful procedure for sure, but I'm alive to feel the pain!

My cancer was staged at Stage 2B...I sang again post-operatively in August of 2018. I'm a living example of how this low dose CT scan can save a life.

I was afraid that I might die, but I was also frightened that I might not sing again, but thanks to the "Saved by the Scan" Campaign, the skilled doctors on my team, the prayers and support from my family and friends...I'm alive and I can still sing. I believe with all my heart that my purpose of being here on earth is to enrich and inspire other people.

First published: August 20, 2019