LUNG FORCE Heroes
I was 52 years old and woke up with an eye problem called Iritis. Thank goodness for the doctors at the Cincinnati Eye Institute; within a few weeks, I was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. I would be dead if not for the persistence of the doctors at the eye institute. The eye problem is what is called a para-neoplastic syndrome. A para-neoplastic syndrome is something going on in your body that will not heal, it is screaming cancer is going on in here, FIND ME. After x-rays, scans, blood work and many visits a lung biopsy diagnosed me with limited small cell lung cancer.
My life and my family's life changed at that moment. I started 6 rounds of chemotherapy and twice a day lung radiation for 3 weeks, in the middle of the chemo, and ended with 2 weeks of full brain radiation. It was a year that my family and I will never forget. I came through the treatment well and was so lucky to have limited disease. Support does not even begin to explain what I had behind me daily. I was off of work for almost a year. I have been a pediatric oncology educator at Cincinnati Children's Hospital for the past 30 years. The support from the entire hospital was mind blowing. I got cards, gifts and meals - but, mostly, I got encouragement to not worry about work, and to just work at getting better.
My husband and family at home could not have been more supportive. My brother took off 3 days every 3 weeks to take me to chemo. My brother and sister took me to radiation twice a day for 3 weeks - when I was sick, post chemo. I will never be able to thank my brother for the extraordinary effort he put into walking next to me through this long journey.
I have a CT scan of my chest 12/30/16, exactly 2 years to the day from my first clear scan. I pray daily to stay healthy and am grateful for feeling well and hopefully making it to my 2 year mark.
First published: November 30, 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.