Valerie H. Just over three weeks ago my brother drove himself... Michigan Valerie Just over three weeks ago my brother drove himself to the emergency room with severe shortness of breath. He thought he was having a heart attack. The hospital took a chest X-Ray and told him that it showed a mass in his left lung and that fluid had built up around his lung and would need to be drained. Over a gallon of fluid was drained from his chest. The biopsy of the fluid revealed that he had non-small cell lung cancer. Stage IV. No words can describe the feeling that hits you at the moment you hear those words. Perhaps like you have been hit in the gut and the heart at the same time and the world stops moving. You are numb, but you are not numb. You can't feel anything, and you are feeling everything. You ask questions but you don't really hear the answers. You can only hear the word, "cancer". You want to know what the odds of beating it are but you are afraid to ask because you don't really want to hear the answer. My brother will begin chemo-therapy in a week. Radiation and surgery are not options. We are told that lung cancer isn't curable, only treatable. Our plan is to continue to treat it with the hope that one day it will become curable and my brother can beat it. We will certainly fight to keep him as healthy as possible for as many years as we can. He is 56 years old and very strong and healthy otherwise. We know that will help him considerably in his fight to come. Reading about the battles that others are fighting with cancer makes you stronger. You realize that you are not alone. My brother continues to share his story with the hope of making more people aware of lung cancer and how to prevent it. He was a smoker that had quit and is now determined that he will help others to quit by making them aware of his story and his feelings and fears. Cancer is not something that happens to "someone else" and prevention and awareness are certainly the best weapons against it. It takes courage and strength both to fight it and to support a loved one who is fighting it. Thank-you for sharing your stories and for allowing me to share mine. Keep the faith and a positive attitude. We are striving to do the same. The photo I am sharing is my brother and I on our journey to the U of M Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Let the battle begin.
Joyce C. I do appreciate the volunteers work. They are the... Alabama Joyce Alabama Lung cancer Volunteers Smoker Quit Non-smoker Health Help Motivation I do appreciate the volunteers work. They are the ones who have helped me quit smoking. It has been hard but I go to one of the sites on the computer when I want a cigarette and read about the harm a cigarette causes my body. The ugly pictures are a great help too. I have been cigarette free for 10 weeks. I still need their help. Thank you to ALL of the volunteers, every site, every commercial, every piece of mail, every time I see or hear anything anti smoking, they put out , is a great plus to motivating us to quit and to continuing to stay smoke free.
Michelle D. My dad found out July 1, 2013 (just a month before... Arizona Michelle Arizona Lung cancer Dad Cough Non-small cell lung cancer Stage 3 Misdiagnosis Surgery Ribs Tumor Christmas Brain Radiation Chemotherapy Liver Pancreas Pneumonia Treatment Non-smoker My dad found out July 1, 2013 (just a month before his 68th Birthday, and less than a year after retiring from a family owned flooring business) that the "clearing of his throat" that he kept doing wasn't allergies...it wasn't valley fever.....it was non-small cell lung cancer, stage III a. We were told it was non-small cell, however, I believe that was a misdiagnosis. My dad went through surgery to remove a portion of his right lung, and a section of 3 ribs that his tumor had attached to. He went through chemo. Upon finishing chemo shorty before Christmas, dad's mobility had declined. We found out he now had 11 lesions/tumors in his brain (did you know that there is a blood brain barrier?....chemo can't protect the brain!....we...did NOT know this prior to chemo). My dad went through whole brain radiation therapy. This was excruciating, and eventually debilitating. Upon finishing, his mouth was covered in sores, he was in extreme pain, and was no longer able to stand without pain. Back into the hospital, dad was there for 3 days. We finally found out that dad's cancer had spread and now it was in his liver, his pancreas, nodes near ribs, another tumor in remaining lung, sepsis throughout, and to top it all off, pneumonia. NOBODY said "hey! You should contact the American Lung Association.” We were never given any resources, we felt alone, and abandoned. My dad spent his last 2 nights in Hospice of the Valley, he closed his eyes on Feb 5, 2014 and he never opened them up again. He left to go to Heaven on Feb 7, 2014. Knowing what I know now,I believe I would forego treatment, and live my last days being happy and functional with my family. Lung Cancer is a horrible disease, and it affected a hard working husband, father, grandfather....a man who was NOT a smoker. I pray for a cure so that another family won't have to lose someone they love!
robert t. I tried and failed several times to quit smoking... California robert California Tobacco Smoker Quit Failure Process Morality I tried and failed several times to quit smoking tobacco. Each time I failed I would beat myself up verbally, labeling my failure as evidence that I was defective and lacking in willpower because I was unable to kick the habit. Once I accepted my failures as PART of the quitting process and not an occasion for moral condemnation, I was successful. Also, flavored toothpicks helped by giving my hands something to do and providing oral sensations. That was thirty years ago.
Timothy J. We learn from observing the examples of the lives... Kentucky Timothy Kentucky Lung cancer Family Smoker Non-smoker Grandmother Snuff Tobacco Cough Difficulty Pain Choke We learn from observing the examples of the lives which came before us. Of my four grandparents, three smoked. The one who did not is still alive at 98 years of age. Next to her was my paternal grandmother who smoked infrequently and dipped snuff. She lived well into her eighties without the horrible coughing that plagued both my grandfathers till they died, each in their early 70's. Both basically choked to death in their sleep, and smoked all of the time I was around them. My parents provided a better example. I love them every one, the ones who showed me what not to do, and the ones who showed me a better way to live. We all must die but shouldn't we first live well and long? One thing that stands out in my mind now is how much time and resources they diverted from living to just making smoke. I wish I could have had more good times with my grandfathers, it’s sad that a dirty ashtray is the fragrance that reminds me of them.
Karl J. When my older son was six, the family was sitting in... Ohio Karl Ohio Lung cancer Family Children Cigarette Smoker Complain Concern Quit History Environment Clean air When my older son was six, the family was sitting in the living room and I was smoking a cigarette. With worry on his face and in his voice, my son said, "...Dad, don't you know that if you smoke you will catch cancer?" I agreed with him and I could not be the kind of father that said, "...do as I tell you not do as I do". I quit. It was 1964. Dr. Joseph Stocklen of Nelsonville, OH was president of ALA of Ohio when I stood up in a meeting and complained that there were people in the room smoking. Joe replied, "The chair is willing to accept your motion." I was caught flat footed, because I has been ready to complain, but I had not thought beyond voicing my concern. Standing in place I hurriedly fashioned a motion that smoking in ALA of Ohio meetings and offices be banned. It passed! When his term on the ALA Board expired, Joe Stocklen nominated me to replace him. I am proud to have been a member of a joint committee of ALA that created the then most effective self-help smoking cessation protocol in history. I served on the ALA Board for 21 years.
Karla H. My mom got lung cancer at age 71. She went through 5... Kansas Karla Kansas Lung cancer Mother Chemotherapy Radiation Diagnosis Sister Smoker Medication COPD Shortness of breath Damage Family Fatigue Struggle Pain Time My mom got lung cancer at age 71. She went through 5 chemos and 22 radiations and died 14 months after diagnosis. My sister got lung cancer at age 45 she went through a lung removal, 14 chemos and 40 radiations. She died 16 months after diagnosis. I moved both of them into my home and took care of them till the day they died myself started smoking at age 14 and now have severe COPD. I am on 3 kinds of meds and as the years go by I find it harder and harder to do normal things like walking up stairs, carrying laundry, yard work the list goes on and on. I’m 57 now. My point is, the meds are helping to prolong the end result of having to have O2. I quit smoking with the help of medication. Yes, it’s hard to quit but it is oh so much harder to go through the pain of lung cancer and the pain of losing your family to this is. No one could tell me that when I was younger. I thought it can’t happen to me. Oh how I’d give anything to go back in time and warn my family what smoking is going to do to us. Eventually all bad comes from smoking. Here are my stats from: six years, three months, one week, three days, 10 hours, 6 minutes and 19 seconds. 80304 cigarettes not smoked, saving $18,068.89. Life saved: 39 weeks, 5 days, 20 hours, 0 minutes. And still I have a hard time breathing and can’t do what I’d like, so the damage is done and can’t be undone.
Sue H. Growing up in the 1950s in a house where my dad and... Illinois Sue Illinois Lung cancer Smoker Dad Respiratory Infections Allergies Heart attack Pollution Environment Health Asthma Medication Denial Family Growing up in the 1950s in a house where my dad and his father smoked unfiltered cigarettes caused me to have yearly bouts with respiratory infections and allergies. My grandfather died of lung cancer in 1976 after smoking for 81 years. My father died of a heart attack in 1971, although he quit smoking cold turkey about 1956. I am sure this history, as well as general levels of pollution, affected my health permanently. I have asthma and am on oxygen all the time from restrictive lung disease. Any kind of chemical air pollution can quickly trigger an asthma attack, for which I am heavily medicated. The worst thing for me is that in general, the average person does not recognize the dangers of second hand smoke to anyone if he is not affected himself. Still lots of denial going on.
Jerilyn T. This isn't my story as much as my mom's story. It is... Colorado Jerilyn Colorado Lung cancer Mother Diagnosis Stage 3 Smoker Quit Non-smoker Treatment Pneumonectomy Surgery Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Family This isn't my story as much as my mom's story. It is short- her life was too short. At 63 she was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. She was a smoker, but not for about 25 years. She quit so this wouldn't happen to her. Both her parents died of lung cancer. Her first course of treatment was a pneumonectomy. After the surgery she seemed fine and the next day she was sitting up and out of bed. She looked great. However, on the 4th day after her surgery she developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and passed away a few days later. When a family member gets a diagnosis of cancer you think that you at least have a few more months. It was such a shock that within a few weeks after her diagnosis she had died.
Ruthann B. My husband had cancer in his esophagus and we were... Ohio Ruthann Ohio Lung cancer Husband Esophagus Stomach Overweight Health Dialysis Brother Family Support Pain Loss My husband had cancer in his esophagus and we were told that he also had cancer in his stomach on November 14, 2008. On November 26, 2008 they opened him up and did not find any CANCER in his stomach. They decided to operate on his right lung. He did not have any there and that was not in the procedure. Well we were in the hospital for 2 months and on Jan. 26, 2009 we came back home to Toledo and went to another hospital in there. My husband was overweight and we were told that no one would operate on him because of his weight and health. Anyway he was on dialysis for a long time. He died on Jan. 10, 2012. He is and was and still is a great loss. My brother died 2008 of lung cancer.
stage4survivor H. An Interesting Journey... Started with a focal... New York stage4survivor Seizure Brain MRI Tumor Optic chiasma Lobe CT scan Chest Stereotactic brain surgery Pulmonary embolus Chemotherapy Adenocarcinoma Stage 4 Advocacy Treatment An Interesting Journey... Started with a focal visual seizure which precipitated brain MRI revealing 3 brain tumors measuring 1cm, 1.5cm and 2.5cm over the optic chiasma. Chest CT revealed 1cm tumor in the LUL (left upper lobe). 2 weeks later stereotactic brain surgery to alleviate seizures. 2 weeks post-op, untreated pulmonary embolus (PE). 1 month post-op, 2 doses of chemotherapy. 2 months post-op, R VATS confirms new tumor is a PE. 3 months post-op, LUL wedge resection. Adenocarcinoma confirmed by brain and lung samples from LUL. 1 year post-Dx, large brain tumor regrew. GammaKnife for all 3 brain tumors. Astonishingly, despite starting as stage 4, all treatment completed November, 2000. No further treatment of any kind for the past 13 years, 11/30/13 was my 14th anniversary since Dx. Self-advocacy and aggressive treatment is the key.
Amy Z. I can still remember exactly how it happened. My Dad... Florida Amy Florida Lung cancer Family Dad Diagnosis Stage 4 Surgery Tumor Heart Treatment Chemotherapy Radiation Anxiety Medicine Remission Lymph nodes Prognosis Tube Disease Environment Support I can still remember exactly how it happened. My Dad called my oldest brother over to our house and sat us down together at the kitchen table with my Mother. He explained to us "I'm very sick". I didn't need to hear another word before I was in tears and disbelief. He explained that he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and that he wouldn't be able to get surgery due to the location of the tumor and how close it was to his heart. He described his treatment plan which included aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments. I just didn't know what to think. All I knew was that my heart was breaking for my Dad and I wished I could take it all away. After a year of chemotherapy and radiation (and how sick it made him), my Dad was to go to a follow up appointment with his Doctor. We were all so anxious about what we would find out. By the power of modern medicine (and the glory of God), my Dad was in remission. The tumor was gone. It was such a relief. He bought himself a new set of golf clubs and decided to live his life to the fullest. We enjoyed every moment we had with him and I was able to truly understand and appreciate the love a child has for their parent. Unfortunately, his remission did not last long. Not even one year went by and he was back in the hospital. This time it was much worse and had spread to his lymph nodes. The prognosis was not good. Before we knew it, Dad was bedridden and needing to be tube fed. There were numerous trips to the hospital. I watched the strongest man I know completely succumb to a disease that we never knew could infiltrate our lives in such a devastating way. I always wanted my Dad to know that I never lost hope that he could get better. In an effort to convey that to my Dad, the very last Christmas gift he got from me was the following: Florida Gator pajama pants (for football season) and slippers (for when I hoped he'd be back on his feet). I explained to him that he would need these and be walking around the house before we knew it. We lost Dad the following January of 2004. I always make it a point to let those I love know and to aspire to touch lives while I am here on this earth. Starting in 2011, I have participated in the Fight for Air Climb in Tampa in honor of my Dad. It's such an incredible feeling to know so many people support this cause and still have the hope that got us through my Dad's fight.
Sherry G. My story is a divine intervention about a young... Maine Sherry Maine Lung cancer Family Women Stage 4 Mets Brain Surgery Recovery Life expectancy Shortness of breath Positive My story is a divine intervention about a young woman and mother of three children ages: 22, 17 and 2 and a wife to a wonderful caregiver. I was diagnosed unexpectedly with Stage IV Lung Cancer with Mets to the brain (twice). I used my aggressive surgery and recovery time to write a memoir about my experience - which was just published today. I have also tried to remain hopeful although the life expectancy isn't favorable. I live everyday thankful for another one to breathe, sing and dance with my children. I am hoping to leave footprints behind on the hearts of the people who have cancer - and those who loved people with cancer. I hope my story inspires you in some way in a positive light. God Bless.
Danielle S. We found out that Grandma had lung cancer stage 4 in... North Dakota Danielle North Dakota Lung cancer Grandma Family Stage 4 Smoker We found out that Grandma had lung cancer stage 4 in Feb. 2013. I was devastated and knew she wouldn't have long with us. It was heartbreaking to see her get weak from the cancer treatment. She was 79 years old and sadly passed away on August 12, 2013. Grandma did smoke most of her life. I think of her every day and continue to make others aware of smoking and lung cancer.
violet s. I have been smoking since I was 5 years old. I could... Indiana violet Indiana Lung cancer Smoker Child Survivor Breath I have been smoking since I was 5 years old. I could read the warnings at that age but no one jumped in saving lives then. I know people who have died of cancer and were never around cigarettes or smoke their entire lifetime. Yes I have asthma, but I also worked around flour from bakeries and dust from newspapers and the smells from colognes. I was 53 in October and there is no difference in my breathing other than when I am around someone that smells heavily of perfume.
Robyn C. My husband found out he had lung cancer with a chest... Oklahoma Robyn Oklahoma Lung cancer Chest X-ray Treatment Nausea Drugs Bills Funding PET scan Survivor Remission My husband found out he had lung cancer with a chest x-ray. I want people facing lung cancer to get treatment as soon as possible. My husband's treatment was not as bad as we expected because of the anti-nausea drugs the have now.Our greatest challenge have been paying the medical bills.My husband has finished his treatments is back to work and feeling great. We have to wait until December for him to have a PET scan to see what the treatments have done. Because of how good he feels we believe the cancer is gone.
MaryLee F. When I was in my late twenties, I started coughing... California MaryLee California Lung cancer Twenties Cough Blood Diagnosis Adenocarcinoma Chest X-ray Bronchoscopy Surgery Lobes Weight loss Shingles Faith Remission Survivor Chemotherapy Surgery When I was in my late twenties, I started coughing up blood. I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in my right lung after having a chest x-ray, bronchoscopy and surgery. Two lobes of my right lung were removed by the thoracic surgeon. I had lost so much weight and had such low resistance that I got shingles and was very weak, but I kept a positive attitude and relied on prayer as well as modern medicine. Thankfully, I gradually got my weight and my energy up to speed. Highly motivated to survive, I walked and swam to gain lung capacity. Now, here I am at 73 still going strong and enjoying children and grandchildren. So many strides have been made in recent years with new chemo treatments and modern surgery techniques that I wish the best for those now facing a lung cancer diagnosis.
Alvy K. In his efforts to determine why I was experiencing... Texas Alvy Texas Lung cancer Dizzy Neurologist X-rays Blood Blood circulation Physician Lobe Neck Radiologist Non-smoker Adenocarcinoma Surgery Remission Survivor Symptoms In his efforts to determine why I was experiencing "dizzy" spells, my neurologist ordered x-rays of blood circulation through my neck to my head. Soon after, I got a call from my primary physician telling me I needed to see him right away. He wouldn't tell me why on the phone. When he saw me the next day, he said the x-ray of my neck had been low enough that the radiologist saw cancer in an upper lobe of my left lung. At age 79 and never having smoked, I was of course surprised. Fortunately the adenocarcinoma was in its early stages, and a surgeon was able to remove it all. That was November 2011, and now I am checked annually and still cancer-free. I had had no symptoms whatsoever. I have thanked that radiologist personally, and I know how lucky I was.
Julie C. Julia was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at the... California Julie California Lung cancer Stage 4 Exercise Julia was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at the age of 26. She passed away just over a year later...
Jessica R. "Don't worry. I'll be fine. See you Friday." ... Pennsylvania Jessica Pennsylvania Lung cancer Dad Daughter Sister Stage 4 Diagnosis Prognosis Chemotherapy Doctor Acid reflux Severe pancreatitis Battle Pain Struggle Awareness Funding Family "Don't worry. I'll be fine. See you Friday." These were the last words my Dad ever said to me. I remember that Sunday phone call and the following week like it was yesterday. That Tuesday morning, my sister told me to make the trip across the state home. Less than 12 hours later, my Dad was gone. In May 2011, my Dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. His initial prognosis was bleak: a year left to live. The doctors underestimated my Dad's stubbornness though. He responded well to chemo, and the doctors began to believe he could make it to the five year mark. My Dad had goals he was determined to meet. There was hope in the grim situation. But in July 2012, my Dad was unable to eat. He went to the ER only to have the attending doctor send him home, stating he had acid reflux and should just try different foods. A week later, he was in the ICU with severe pancreatitis. He lost his battle on July 31 because his body was too weak from the cancer to fight the curable pancreatitis. Not a day goes by that I don't think of my Dad. He was only 56 when he died and has since missed so much. I wish I would have appreciated the time I had with him more when he was here, but I will always cherish the memories I do have. With the rest of my family, I will continue to honor his fight by raising money and awareness for lung cancer.
Lyvonne L. My dad had been having some weak spells and the... Tennessee Lyvonne Tennessee Lung cancer Family Dad Gall bladder Surgery Small oat-cell Survivor Agony Healthy Faith Husband My dad had been having some weak spells and the doctors said it was nothing. In October of 2002, he had gall bladder surgery and the doctor told us it was cancer. I researched that type cancer and it was curable if detected early-we thought it was over. The next day the doctor said it was very unusual because it wasn't in his lungs- it was small oat-cell lung cancer. I knew the survival rate for it was not good. My dad put up a mighty fight but passed away in April 2004. He never complained even though he was in agony. He was in good physical shape when he was diagnosed and that helped him to fight for as long as he did. He was a wonderful Christian, husband and dad.
Marybeth H. My husband, Eric, was diagnosed at 43 years old with... South Carolina Marybeth South Carolina Lung cancer Marriage Non-smoker Alk positive Stage 4 Symptom Lump Biopsy Adenocarcinoma PET scan Family Children Lymph nodes Bones Liver Brain Diagnosis Chemotherapy Radiation Portland Denver Charlotte Disease Cure Awareness My husband, Eric, was diagnosed at 43 years old with non-smoking Alk positive stage IV lung cancer in March 2012. We had been married almost 5 years and had a 4 year old son and a six month old son. His only symptom was a lump discovered in his neck that was biopsied to reveal adenocarcinoma. His pet scan revealed it had spread everywhere from lymph nodes to bones to spleen to liver to brain. Since his diagnosis, he has been on chemo which worked for a while and had targeted brain radiation. We have traveled to Denver and Portland to meet with specialists who are on the forefront of battling this disease. In August 2012, scans revealed multiple brain lesions. He underwent WBR in October 2012 and was forced to switch chemos since the other one stopped working. In April 2013, he was lucky enough to qualify for the LDK378 trial here in Charlotte and has had great response except this past August where it was revealed the brain lesions have begun returning. While the rest of his disease seems stable, the brain is what we now watch. His next scans are in a week right before Thanksgiving. We are not sure what the future holds and if this is the last holiday season he will see with his young sons. If there was half the awareness of screening there is for things like breast cancer, my husband and boys' father would have had a fighting chance. Now all we can do is borrow time and live scan to scan. A cure is an unattainable dream that can be reached for so many others with cancer but for people with lung- the stereotype and stigma signs their death certificate. My husband never smoked- he deserves to see his boys grow up. Awareness is the key to saving lives.
Cindy B. I lost my precious Mama, Hazel, who was also my... Alabama Cindy Alabama Friend Family Surgery Uterine cancer Metastases Radiologist Pulmonologist Scar tissue Non-smoker Arthritis Shoulder pain Cough Bronchitis I lost my precious Mama, Hazel, who was also my friend. She looked much younger than her years. She was diagnosed with lung cancer after 25 years of being uterine cancer free. On 5/18/2010 she had surgery for metastases to the brain. On 11/19/2010 the radiologist thought they spotted something more. The pulmonologist said it was scar tissue. January 1, 2011, the day she died, was the worst day of my life. Mama never smoked a day in her life. She worked in shirt factories for years. Know the signs. Knobby fingers-we thought was arthritis. Shoulder pain-thought because she was so active. Treated for bronchitis for a year for a slight cough. Had I known this, Mama may still be alive.
Elizabeth P. My Grandmother was diagnosed with small cell lung... Massachusetts Elizabeth Massachusetts Lung cancer Grandmother Small cell Symptoms Chemotherapy Exhaustion Fatigue Eulogy Smoker Quit Family Non-smoker Mother Symptoms Condition My Grandmother was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in September 2012. She was gone six weeks later. She passed away two days before Thanksgiving. Losing her was horrible enough, but losing her near a holiday was unbearable. We didn't even know she was sick, as her symptoms mirrored that of previous condition she already had. She only made it through one chemotherapy appointment. It made her so tired, but all I can remember is that she still made herself get up and cook dinner for us. At first, I tried to do everything for her, but then she told me to just treat her as I always have. I sang at her funeral and gave the eulogy. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. My biggest challenge to face was the uncertainty of what chemo for her would be like. Up until she was diagnosed, I fortunately had no experience with other close family members and cancer. Sometimes I also felt angry that she couldn't quit smoking. Then I felt guilty for feeling angry. What gives me hope after all my family went through, is that my mom quit smoking after my Grandma passed away. I miss her all the time, but I know she would be so proud of my mom for quitting, even if it took her death to help her daughter realize that it can kill you and take loved ones left behind hostage.
Donna G. Robert was a good man! A husband, father,... Maryland Donna Maryland Lung cancer Husband Father Family Non-smoker Survival Diagnosis Stage 4 Disease Liver Brain Spinal cord EGFR marker Trials Drug Therapy Hospice Lower back pain Pneumonia Migraines Cough Shortness of breath Robert was a good man! A husband, father, co-worker, neighbor and he was only 51 years old when he died. He never smoked. He battled bravely for 15 months. But he knew his odds for survival were small when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. By the time the disease was discovered it had spread from his lungs to his liver, brain, and spinal cord. At diagnosis we were told to prepare for death in six months. Then, it was determined he had the EGFR marker and he was treated with a targeted therapy drug, which helped extend his life. What made Bob finally go see a doctor was lower back pain. He thought he had pneumonia. A chest x-ray revealed something much worse. Of course the six months leading up to the doctor visit he had a nagging cough, ocular migraines, and increasing shortness of breath. He blamed it on turning 50. The world was robbed of one really good man the day he died.
Joan L. I started with some back pain between my shoulder... New Jersey Joan New Jersey Lung cancer Back pain Pain Shoulders Bronchitis Emergency room Cardiac catheter X-ray Lymph nodes CAT scan PET scan Bronchoscopy Biopsy Lobectomy Septic Chemotherapy Remission Survivor Shortness of breath I started with some back pain between my shoulder blades and I was getting bronchitis almost every month. One day I had some chest pain and went to the emergency room where I was admitted and had a cardiac catheter, which was normal. The hospital had also taken a chest X-ray that showed an area suspicious for malignancy. From there it went CAT scan, PET scan, bronchoscopy and needle biopsy. I had a lobectomy done with follow up chemo. I have to say the chemo was the worst part- it took me to the brink of death. I ended up being septic after the chemo and was in ICU for 4 days. Today I'm 4 years and 10 months cancer free. I have shortness of breath occasionally but I'm just glad to still be here. Never give up, take one day at a time and always think positive!
Leya T. My dad has Stage IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. He... Texas Leya Texas Lung cancer Stage 4 Non-small cell Diagnosis Family Dad Defeat Tracheostemy Tubes Chemotherapy Dosages Clinical trials Laugh Fight Encouragement My dad has Stage IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. He was diagnosed earlier this year and it has changed our family forever. He is the one who fills our lives with laughter daily; and he alone can make you smile on your worst day with his unique sense of humor. He sat me down the day he told me he had lung cancer, of course being the youngest and only daughter, I was the last to know. I'll remember that day for the rest of my life. I remember my first response was "What's the next step?" He looked at me with his relaxed usual care-free smile and simply said "We'll see..." That's how amazing my dad is. He doesn't take this diagnosis as defeat! He takes it like any other battle or obstacle; he smiles and keeps going. That's what I want other people battling alongside someone fighting lung cancer should know: Keep going, keep fighting! Don't give up and fight together... I could tell you how many roadblocks we've hit; from his tracheostomy tubes, ER trips or his 12 Rounds of the strongest chemo dosages. But I'm not going to concentrate on that! I'm going to tell you how he is one of the only people joking and laughing at his chemo sessions! The way he makes his doctors and nurses laugh, or the funny bandanas he wears for jokes to cover the side effects of his chemo. I'm going to share the fact that my dad continues to smile and make people laugh even though he faces the biggest challenge he's ever faced. So again, please keep fighting, and never ever give up! Fight for your family and fight together. I’m sharing this picture of my dad during one of his chemo treatments. I hope his smile encourages and brightens another person's day like he does mine.
JoAnne J. My husband Larry was officially diagnosed with stage... New Jersey JoAnne New Jersey Lung cancer Husband Diagnosis Stage 4 Itch Foot Blood clot Groin X-ray Arterial Disease Smoker Lymph node Clinical trial Radiation Hospice Palliative care Family Support Faith Brain Surgery My husband Larry was officially diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at the age of 44 on August 12, 2003. Larry’s ordeal started in June when he thought he broke his little toe. Then I discovered the bottom of his foot around the toe was almost black and cold. He never felt a thing, just that it was itchy. Finally he went to the doctor and was sent to hospital. They did some kind of emergency test and found a blood clot near his groin area so a stent was put in. They never did a chest x-ray. It was determined he had an arterial disease related to smoking. Finally after 2 more hospital trips they did a chest x-ray and found a "peculiar looking spot on his left lung”. We hoped for the best on the day of surgery. It was determined he had non-small cell lung cancer, stage IV. Larry had a few treatment options and we opted for a clinical trial. Larry said "If it doesn't help me maybe I can help someone else". Our team of doctors were great as well as the clinical trial nurse. The second week of November he was having severe headaches. Cancer was spreading at the base of his brain. Radiation was suggested but not recommended. Two days after final treatment we went to doctor who said "I am SO SORRY to have to tell you this but I think we should consider hospice". Hospice was set up the next day at home. Larry said from the beginning if things didn't go "our" way he wanted to be at home surrounded by family and friends in the house that Larry built. Phone calls were made and visitors came. Our Methodist pastor came by with communion. By 2am Saturday he said he was tired and ready for bed. He was getting agitated and he took himself off the oxygen. He looked at me and said "Just be happy and take care of our kids. I am sorry." It was 5:55am. Larry was in and out of it. I told him it was time to go. I loved him. I thanked him for the 15 years we had and the beautiful house we designed and built together. The kids and I will be alright. I put my hand over his heart. He fluttered his eyes. I said “I love you honey.” He said "For always". A golden heart stopped beating. Three days after our 15th anniversary it was over. Larry never really had a second chance. Services were held the day before Thanksgiving 2003. This November 19th would've been our 25th wedding anniversary. This November 22nd is the 10th anniversary of his passing. Our daughter is now 21 years old and our son, named after his daddy, is 17 years old and so much like his daddy!
Juanita B. What a journey. I found lumps around my collar bone... Wisconsin Juanita Wisconsin Lung cancer Lump CT scan Husband Collar bone Biopsy Lymph nodes Rib cage Stage 4 Stage 3 Hospice Support Palliative care Diagnosis Positive Treatment Healthy Death Non-smoker Struggle What a journey. I found lumps around my collar bone in 2009. The doctor wasn't too concerned, but still took a CT scan to keep an eye on it. In March 2010 I lost my husband to a lifestyle death. I sold about everything, and was going to sell my home but I did everything I could so I could keep my home, only to lose it to cancer. In November 2011, I found more lumps and bigger ones around the collar bone. The doctor took another CT and found that the lumps had gotten bigger. I underwent biopsies and sure enough, it was stage 4 b lung cancer- lots of cancerous lymph nodes between my lungs and rib cage. Now I knew what lung cancer does to people because I took care of my best friend and a mother in-law who had lung cancer and passed away. It's a horrible death. I was scared big time. My son was more scared but strong. My son was in medical school doing his internship in psychology and did some research on my situation. He said I could beat it and to get more opinions, so I did. My first opinion was stage 4, my second was stage 3b. My sister works as a hospice CNA and asked her nurses who is the best doctor by her and they told her who and I went to see them. They gave me the best odds, stage 3b, but they felt with a good attitude and staying healthy they could keep it managed and give me a few more years. So my sister called my son and asked if she could take care of me and help me through my journey (my son was going to come home to stay with me and I wouldn’t have that). So I moved up near my sister 3 hours away and I gave my home back to the bank (I would have lost it anyway because of bills). In the meantime, one of my other sisters was diagnosed with cancer also, so my brother helped her and I moved up north and fought like hell. I was loved big time and encouraged big time to keep a positive attitude. My son and his girlfriend would send me songs that would keep me strong (I love music). I did 3 weeks of chemo and 10 weeks of radiation, it was hell, but I did it. My nephew and sister and brothers all helped keep me positive. My other sister was getting worse and her treatment wasn’t helping. I beat my cancer in March of 2012. My sister Colleen wasn't as lucky as me. I miss her and have felt guilty since. I'm staying strong and trying to stay healthy. My son is doing his residency now and all is good in life. So never give up never.....
Michelle L. I have lost 5 family members to lung cancer,... New Hampshire Michelle New Hampshire Lung cancer Family Non-smoker Smoker Symptoms Diagnosis Pain Suffering Shoulders Treatment X-ray Advocacy Risk Health I have lost 5 family members to lung cancer, including both parents. My father was the most recent, losing his battle in 2012. He had not smoked for 15 years. It was a total shock. For me, the most enlightening part of the diagnosis was learning about the lack of symptoms. My father had been suffering with pain in his shoulder blade. After months of superficial treatment he was sent for an x-ray. It was at that point they detected the anomaly. From that moment on I realized I would tell everyone I could to be your own advocate. Know your body and if you have risk factors get screened. Don't wait until you don't feel well. It may be too late. Don't take no for an answer. Fight now so you won't have to fight for your life.