Grace c.'s Story

Florida – I was diagnosed with stage 3B lung cancer in June of 2010. It is now October of 2013 and I'm still here. My first reaction was to sob and think I'd be dead in a few months. Stage 3B--advanced non-small cell lung cancer. I was 62 and felt a whole lot younger. All of a sudden my dreams and hopes were gone, my life was over. Then I did 2 things--met my oncologist, and told my friends. My oncologist was a believer that everyone had a chance and with all that was out there we'd find ways to fight. If one didn't work, we'd try something else. After all, he told us he had a patient who was still alive and doing well after 8 years. One of the oncology nurses told us that cancer was becoming a chronic illness. If we can't cure it, we can control it and each day new studies are available. After I'd been through my initial chemo and radiation, my tumors had shrunk and things were good. But then they started to grow and I went back on chemo, but this time they found me a clinical study. I was in that for phase 2 trial and it was just great--constant monitoring by nurse and doctor and best of all it was keeping things at bay. Of course the treatment is of utmost imiportance, but you know I have the absolute best oncology nurses. Kathy, Debbie, Janet and those who came later made me feel like I was the most important person in their lives. They are just fantastic. Also I was a teacher before I retired because of the cancer and 2 of my former students work where I was treated. It is so great to see them when I go--kind of like family looking out for me. If you are diagnosed with cancer tell your friends--they want to know and they want to help. I honestly don't know what I would have done without their support. To say they've been helpful is the biggest understatement of the year. I don't know how I'd have survived and kept fighting and trying to be positive--not cloyingly so but genuinely positive if not for them. They also gave me persmission to be not positive some days. Yes, it's ok to have a day when you fall apart, sob, and just go to bed. One of the hardest things about lung cancer is people's reaction. With other cancers they tell you they're sorry, but with lung cancer they ask if you smoked. It makes you feel like they feel what what did you expect? It's hurtful. no one deserves any kind of cancer--remember that. Remember that support group--your friends. it's invaluable.

 

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