diana m. I am a 51 year old female and this past August I was... Florida diana Florida Lung cancer Stage 2 Diagnosis Symptoms Asthma Inhaler X-ray I am a 51 year old female and this past August I was diagnosed with stage 2 lung cancer. On the 28th of October I had half of my lung removed. I didn't have any symptoms whatsoever. I found out because I needed a refill on my inhaler, and when the doctor did an x-ray and saw it.
Jillian F. I lost my best friend, my mom, almost a year ago. ... Massachusetts Jillian Massachusetts Lung cancer Mother Daughter Love Life Smoker Non-smoker Rhode Island Voice Cigarettes Schools Awareness I lost my best friend, my mom, almost a year ago. On November 19, 2012 my mother Brenda (52 years old) lost her battle to cancer. When I say she was my everything, I kid you not. I could tell her anything and she was the most amazing mom a girl could ask for. Although I only had 20 years to spend with her, I wouldn't trade it for the world. She has made me who I am today and taught me how precious life is. She loved everyone for who they were, never judged and always cared. I am a junior in college but I am beginning my life long mission, and that is to do all I possibly can in the hopes to end smoking. I know I can’t bring my mom back, but I sure can make her proud from heaven. I spoke at a town meeting in Rhode Island and told my story. I am in the middle of recording my story so it can be shared at schools or meetings. I am praying my voice can become a voice of reason if not for all, for one person. One less smoker can ultimately save one person's life. I am young, too young to have lost my mom and I will do anything I can to let the world know that smoking can kill. If I can do anything please let me know! Let's not lose another person from smoking, let's save another person from starting.
Lina J. In January 2006, a broken rib from coughing led to... California Lina California Lung cancer Broken rib Cough Diagnosis Stage 3 Non-smoker Husband Doctors Family Inspiration Fight Pain In January 2006, a broken rib from coughing led to the diagnosis of stage 3b lung cancer. My late husband was not a smoker. He fought with all he had to beat the cancer but in November of 2010 his fight ended. The doctors gave him 2 years, but he hung on for 4. He did not give up the fight, my daughter was 9 when he passed and remembers how hard he tried to beat it. She was his inspiration.
Erin H. My dad was diagnosed with liver cancer in November... Ohio Erin Ohio Lung cancer Dad Liver Stage 4 Chemotherapy Symptoms Relief Pain Back Legs Nausea Veteran Family My dad was diagnosed with liver cancer in November 2011. Not long after my family's world was rocked, we found out his liver cancer came from stage 4 lung cancer and the only option we had was chemo for symptom relief. He was always in severe pain from either his back or legs, and if he wasn't in pain he was so nauseous he couldn't eat. He completed one chemo session before losing his battle two very short months due to complications. My father was a Vietnam veteran and my HERO. Not a day goes by I don't think of him.
Bob A. I had large cell lung cancer and I had one of my... Florida Bob Florida Lung cancer Lobe Lymph nodes Tumor Doctor Radiation Shortness of breath Lung removal Support Survivor Large cell I had large cell lung cancer and I had one of my lobes on my left lung removed. Also, I had 3 lymph nodes removed since one was cancerous. This was done in 1988 therefore I am very lucky to be alive today. My MD at the time thought it would be prudent to have radiation in the area of the cancer. After the operation I was breathing like nothing happened and thought all would be great. I took the advice of my MD to have radiation for 5 weeks and around the 5th week I could feel myself cooking and my breathing getting worse. Within a month or so after radiation, my breathing became so bad any activity was a big chore and I couldn't go to work anymore. My walking became very limited. I never realized that the remainder of your lungs expand to take the place of the partial lung removal and therefore the radiation was hitting my good lung. So think before having radiation as I did.
Donna H. I have nearly 12 years of volunteer experience with... Pennsylvania Donna Pennsylvania Lung cancer Volunteer Mother Death Omaha Nebraska Air Uncle Family Awareness Unemployment Health National Lung Cancer Awareness Month Advocate First National Bank fo Omaha Citizens’ Voice Lung champion Civic minded Participant I have nearly 12 years of volunteer experience with a variety of nonprofit organizations, local community based organizations, and civic minded groups. I have served as a longtime supporter, active participant, volunteer, and donor of the American Lung Association. I've assisted with increasing volunteerism, donations, corporate sponsorships and promoted special events in order to help fight for air locally and nationally. I was awarded with the National Lung Cancer Awareness Month Advocacy Challenge in November from the National Lung Cancer Partnership and received the Spread the Joy Winner in December with First National Bank of Omaha. My accomplishments have been featured in many local newspapers including Lebanon Daily News, Times Leader, and Citizens' Voice respectively and with other placements involving advertisements, promotional venues and commercial. This year I was placed on board as Climb Committee Member with ALA Mid-Atlantic Region of NE PA and in addition was "nominated" for ALA Lung Champion and Volunteer of the Week along with Jefferson Awards for Public Service. I began to participate with American Lung Association after losing my mother in law Trudy, her mother Howell, my uncle Daniel, Coach Joe Paterno (PSU) and just last week my friend Eddie-- all to lung cancer. I now run/walk every year in their memory. My story is unique in that I'm also struggling with unemployment, homelessness, and government assistance. I've been struggling since 2010. Although I lived off credit cards for 2 years awaiting child support for 3 kids including one medically disabled son, I refused to give up helping American Lung Association and not only did I raise the necessary funding for both major events the Fight For Air Climbs in Hershey and Wilkes Barre, but I did so while homeless and without income. It goes to show that if you have the will and determination anything is possible. I love my family and would do anything to have one more day with them. I am their voice and I bring attention to the cause by raising awareness to lung cancer daily through all my efforts mentioned above. Thank you!
Christina M. My mother just passed away on October 1, 2013 from... Texas Christina Texas Lung cancer Mother Bone cancer Diagnosis Stage 4 Shoulder Tests Pain Pulmonologist X-ray Smoker Non-smoker Quit Screenings Family Support Disease My mother just passed away on October 1, 2013 from lung cancer that had metastasized to bone cancer. She was only 67 years old and had not smoked in 15 years. Her diagnosis of cancer only came on August 23, so it was not even six weeks from her diagnosis to her death. It was actually the bone cancer that was causing symptoms that she finally got checked out with a doctor. Her left shoulder had 'popped' at the end of July and it hurt her after that. I convinced her to go see her doctor thinking it was a torn muscle or rotator cuff. After many tests and scans, they said she had bone cancer. They determined that the bone cancer was secondary to the lung cancer. Her bone cancer caused her such pain that, for her sake, I'm glad her suffering did not last long. The lung cancer seemed to not have any symptoms. The lung and bone cancer were both rather advanced before they were even discovered. At the end, her pulmonologist was taking X-rays each day of her lungs and EACH DAY he could see it advancing. She essentially asphyxiated because of the cancer. I have never smoked, but most members of my family have at one time or another. We will all be getting screened regularly now so that the silent killer - lung cancer - cannot surprise any of us like it did my mom. My message for any current smokers is to please quit; for current and past smokers, I would urge you get screenings for your lungs regularly. It was very hard on my family and I to watch my mom deteriorate and to be in so much pain. Now, there is an irreplaceable hole in our hearts and lives. I will miss my mom for the rest of my life. I am now supporting cancer causes and research hoping that, one day, cancer can be eliminated as have other diseases in the past.
Kathleen S. I was diagnosed in 1999. My diagnosis was a HUGE... Florida Kathleen Florida Lung cancer Diagnosis X-ray Flu Tumor Non-smoker CT scan Biopsy Bronchoscopy Radiation Radiologist Lymph nodes Non-small cell lung cancer Surprise Lobe Thoracotomy Chemotherapy Remission Survivor Tests Exercise Treatment Family Husband Career I want people to know that the only statistic that matters is the one you live to create. I was diagnosed in 1999. My diagnosis was a HUGE surprise, and it was not easy to obtain. I had been busy planning my wedding and also had a busy career and small children. I had forgotten to get a flu shot. On my honeymoon, I caught the flu. My husband insisted that I have a chest x-ray. The x-ray showed something in my upper right lung the size of a golf ball. Because I had never smoked and was only 41 years old, the doctors thought I had a fungal growth or round pneumonia. They tried unsuccessfully to get a biopsy via bronchoscopy and CT-assisted needle biopsy. Finally, in May 1999, I traveled to a major cancer center. The radiologists there said that whatever was in my upper right lung was also in my left lung, but much smaller. The surgeon performed a video-assisted, thoracic surgery to remove the lobe of my left lung that contained the smaller tumor. It was non-small cell lung cancer. It did not appear to have spread outside the lungs. Biopsies of my lymph nodes were inconclusive because I did not have lymph nodes in all of the normal places. In June 1999, I had a traditional thoracotomy to remove the upper lobe of my right lung. I was in the hospital for two weeks. The staging of my cancer was difficult because of the lack of lymph nodes. The doctors were split on whether I should have chemotherapy. The only available statistics, based upon meager data, showed that because I had lung cancer in both lungs, I had a zero percent chance of surviving five years. I decided that the statistics were unreliable and that SOMEONE had to live for more than five years. I had 5 or 6 rounds of traditional chemotherapy---tumor typing tests were not common then. Life went on. I went back to exercising. My lung capacity came back to a very great extent, because my remaining lung tissue expanded. They say I am cured. I want people to know that the only statistic that matters is the one that you live to create. Every case is different. Every person is different. If you are not comfortable with your doctor, go to another one. Go to a major cancer center, if possible. Speak up. No one who matters cares whether you smoked, except as it may be necessary to know in order to provide treatment. No one deserves lung cancer. Everyone deserves to have a fighting chance when they are diagnosed.
Roy M. During the summer of 2004, I was coughing up blood. ... North Carolina Roy North Carolina Lung cancer Cough Blood Lung specialist Non-smoker Diagnosis Rex Hospital Raleigh Surgery During the summer of 2004, I was coughing up blood. My primary doctor sent me to see a lung specialist, who performed tests on me. He diagnosed me as having lung cancer. I have never smoked in my life, but I was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. During October, I was admitted to Rex Hospital in Raleigh, where a surgeon removed the upper half of my left lung.
Teresa W. My father was diagnosed with lung cancer in December... Texas Teresa Texas Lung cancer Dad Smoker Shortness of breath Surgery Cigarette Quit Doctor Family Specialist Survivor My father was diagnosed with lung cancer in December of 1983. He was 69 years old at the time and had been a heavy smoker for 50 years. He was helping someone unload a piece of furniture from a pick-up and became short of breath. In his words, he "couldn't catch his breath." This episode worried him and my mother, so he soon went to see his doctor. After looking at my dad's x-ray, the doctor told him he needed to see a specialist and not to put it off. He told my dad that if he waited 6 months, it would probably be too late. My dad was one of the lucky ones. He had one of his lungs removed and needed no further treatment. My dad was with us for another 15 years. He never smoked another cigarette and spent the rest of his life trying to convince others to stop smoking. From my experience, what I want everyone to know is that if you feel something isn't right, there's a good chance that you are right. Go see your doctor and DON'T DELAY. Early detection gives you your best possible chance. And PLEASE don't smoke. If you do smoke, please stop.
Robert A. In the fall of 2011 I wrestled with a cough for a... Missouri Robert Missouri Lung cancer Cough Dizzy Heartburn Knees Bronchitis Diagnosis Tumor Surgery Radiation Chemotherapy Remission Doctors Nurses Shortness of breath Clinical tests Lymph nodes In the fall of 2011 I wrestled with a cough for a week or two. One day I got dizzy along with severe heart burn and went to my knees. I managed to dial 911, but then got better. I told the ambulance driver that I would drive myself to the hospital. I was diagnosed with bronchitis and a spot on my Lung. I went through two months of tests so they could determine what it was and if it could be operated on. It was lung cancer that showed a 50% chance that it could be removed. I lost my right lung and a trace of cancer was left in a lymph node. I then went through radiation and chemo treatment. The odds were against me, but it's been in remission ever since. So far, so good. I can walk about a half mile without stopping to catch my breath. Doctors, nurses, and all kept telling me how lucky I was. PS Ice Pops/Popsicles tasted ok while on chemo. They can be home made for nutrients.
sherri s. My dad passed away from lung cancer on Sept 15,... Nebraska sherri Nebraska Lung cancer Dad Death Hospital Smoker Family My dad passed away from lung cancer on Sept 15, 2009. He was the one who helped me and I was still in high school so when he didn't feel good. I came home and did my school work. I still got a diploma and my dad was proud of me. He didn't go to the hospital to die, stayed at home with his family. It was the hardest day in my life. I cried a lot that day but I was glad that he didn't have to suffer anymore. Lung cancer is one of the deadliest cancers there is. My dad couldn't stop smoking. Thank you for all you do for people’s family.
Richard W. I grew up in a family where everybody smoked. We... Pennsylvania Richard Pennsylvania Family Smoker Unhealthy Cigarettes Lung cancer Quit I grew up in a family where everybody smoked. We never even talked about it. I knew the habit was unhealthy, so limited my use to five cigarettes a day or less. But here I am, about to die from lung cancer. I quit eight years ago, having smoked for thirty years.
Ronda D. I was diagnosed two years ago with stage 3B lung... Illinois Ronda Illinois Lung cancer Diagnosis Horner’s Syndrome Tumor Stage 4 Strong Family Chemotherapy Drugs I was diagnosed two years ago with stage 3B lung cancer, my bonus was Horner’s Syndrome due to the location of my tumor (Pancoast). I have since been upgraded to stage IV. I am happy to say that I am still going strong and not much has changed in my life. I still work full time and enjoy my grandchildren as much as possible. I am still in treatment but have been lucky to tolerate chemo very well. I was not able to have surgery and do not qualify for any of the newer targeted drugs. There is hope!
Rebecca V. I lost my father to lung cancer almost three years... Georgia Rebecca Georgia Father Daughter Lung cancer Family Love I lost my father to lung cancer almost three years ago. What I really want others to know is that people with lung cancer, your friends, your family, your loved ones, are not statistics. Lung cancer is not a good experience and no one deserves it. My dad was kind and funny and smart and gave me my sense of humor. He taught me to be nice to people. He was the best dad ever and he was my best friend.
Linda A. About 7 months ago I went in for a physical -... Minnesota Linda Minnesota Lung cancer Physical Blood Kidney stone Ultrasound Liver CT scan Biopsy Stage 4 Chemotherapy CT scan Colonoscopy Mammograms Non-smoker About 7 months ago I went in for a physical - everything was just "fine". Blood work everything is okay. For about 3 weeks I had has this stitch in my right side. It kind of felt like a kidney stone, which I have had before. In July, 2013 I went to the doctor to have him check it out. The next day I was having an ultrasound. That day the doctor’s office called - he wants to see me that afternoon. He says my kidneys are fine - I have a mass on my liver that he would like to get checked and has me leave there and get a CT scan. He calls me later that afternoon that there are 2 small masses in my lung and a small/and large mass in my liver. Everything went fast from then on, I was sent in for a biopsy and got word - it was lung cancer stage 4. The cancer had spread to my liver. I am now getting chemo treatment, last word I received was the masses have shrunk, but I still don't understand why this was not found at my physical - oh, I think one problem is a physical only includes blood tests now - no x-rays, no urine tests etc.? Why is that anyway? I read an article about after 50 a CT should be done - this was the first time I had ever had one. They do mammograms and prostrate exams and colonoscopy. Why not CT scans? They would show any abnormality in the body??
Pat P. My dad died from lung cancer in January 2003. He was... Mississippi Pat Mississippi Lung cancer Dad Diagnosis Radiation Sore throat CT scan Tumor Bronchoscopy Biopsy Surgery Lymph nodes Non-smoker Shortness of breath Mold Health issues Disease Asthma Breathe Work Survival My dad died from lung cancer in January 2003. He was diagnosed less than 30 days earlier. He had been exposed to radiation at his job. Fast forward to 2011 when I had a recurrent sore throat and went to my ENT. He suggested a CT scan of my neck which includes part of your lungs. When the results came back I was told there was nothing wrong with my throat, but there was a lesion at the apex of my left lung. It was very small. A bronchoscopy was unsuccessful at obtaining a biopsy because they were unable to reach the lesion with the scope. I went on a watch and wait protocol with serial follow up CT scans until finally almost a year and multiple CT'S and 2 PET scans later the lesion showed changes. It was at that time I had a CT guided needle biopsy and I was told I had bronchioalveolar adenocarcinoma. I was scheduled for surgery on March 27, 2012, where my left upper lobe was removed. Thankfully 17 out of 17 lymph nodes were negative for cancer, but were black. I did not smoke. I recovered from surgery with the help of very gifted and kind medical staff and went home with oxygen, but only at night and only for a week. I have been followed by the most wonderful doctors to include my thoracic surgeon, pulmonologist, ENT (I also have thyroid nodules), oncologist and primary care. Right now I am considered to be in remission. I was one of the lucky ones who was accidentally diagnosed early and I have a good chance of 5 year (or more) survival! I will say that I did have symptoms of difficulty breathing, especially at work. I worked in a building that had suffered severe water damage during Katrina and previous to our group moving into the building it had officially been condemned for asbestos and black mold. It was painted and carpeted and called "fixed" and we were moved into the building. Several people suffered various health issues following our occupancy and some were moved out of the building. Some of us were made to stay and one person died from lung disease and I was diagnosed with cancer. The entire time we were in the building I complained that I couldn't breathe when I was inside the building, but it fell on deaf ears. I was diagnosed with emphysema, asthma and COPD. I did not smoke. My point is, please don't ignore your body. If you can't breathe in a certain environment, do everything you can to avoid that environment. Fight for your lungs. Live a long life!
Kristin G. My sister was diagnosed with lung cancer on April 1,... California Kristin California Lung cancer Symptoms Joint pains Swollen feet Swollen fingers Ache Treatment X-ray Lump Rheumatoid arthritis Biopsy Chemotherapy Radiation Lymph nodes PET scan Stage 3 Family Survivor Remission Mutation Trial Battle My sister was diagnosed with lung cancer on April 1, 2013. She had no symptoms except for joint pains and swollen finger tips and feet. Her body ached and doctors were going to treat her for rheumatoid arthritis. When she met with a rheumatoid arthritis doctor, he sent her for a chest x-ray. This is when a mass was discovered on her right lung. A biopsy was ordered and confirmed her lung cancer. She had numerous scans completed prior to her initial chemo/radiation treatment. This included a brain MRI, and a PET scan. A surgeon also completed a mediastinoscopy and took some swollen lymph nodes which came back benign. There was no indication that her cancer spread to any other parts of her body; therefore, diagnosed as a stage 3b lung cancer patient. In July, my sister had a 10.5 cm tumor on her right upper lobe that was successfully removed. Her tumor was 90% dead and 10% active but her surgery was successful. At this time, she was cancer free. Unfortunately, 3 months later, her lung cancer metastasized to her brain with 5 tumors. Again, one month later, it was discovered that her lung cancer is now on her left lung. Because of a Kras mutation, doctors are saying there is nothing they can do except for chemo. My family is looking for a clinical trial and understand she has to be eligible. My sister is Stage IV lung cancer patient now. My family knows she can beat this. She is incredibly positive and will fight this battle even though she has her good days and her bad days. She has taught me a lot. My sister's attitude, positive outlook with life has set such an example for all of us.
Michelle M. Well my father is a really active 70 year old man... Florida Michelle Florida Sister-in-law April Lung cancer Lymph node Brain Lung Fighter Smoking Diagnosis Well my father is a really active 70 year old man who smoked his pretty much entire life. Other than that he has a healthy lifestyle, decent weight, still working as an attorney, lover of his family with multiple dreams and projects to accomplish. On June 2013 he started to experience shortness of breath while going upstairs to his office, which he would always do. He was not so old to take the elevator to go up 3 floors. He noticed that if he wanted to do 2 steps at a time it was too much. So he went to the pulmonologist, had x-rays, a CT scan, an MRI and all. In around 3 weeks it all was said and done and we were facing stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. The big "dino tumor” from the right lung is, 3 months later, 6 centimeters and there are 3 little mets, 2 cm and 1 cm, which are being battled with radiation. Chemo is now on round 2 and cancer has not given as many symptoms as chemo. Let’s leave it like that, but, without chemo you die so that is the way I talk to him so he just puts up with it. I keep him brave by loving him but not treating him like a baby. He is a strong man and I have to keep him strong. He knows I love him but I want him to be who he is and he is not cancer. He is my dad so I think that is going to make him better. My mother has been physically taking care of him because I live far from him, she deals with a lot, the lack of appetite gets him moody and sometimes I have to remind him of what a lovely wife God gave him and how thankful he should be of her love and support. So far I think that has been a big old great challenge for: us appetite and chemo… big problem. I want other people to know that I faced this process initially with great pain but then I just got up and walked on it and ever since then I feel like I can help because I mentally decided that being sad was no help for no one. Other than that I guess and hope we are just starting on this fight. I offer this story hoping it will inspire someone out there going through the same problem. Me and my sister have cried a lot but managed to get ourselves together to fight the cancer and the pain that hits you when the statistics are shown to you. I actually get hope from other people’s stories, and out of seeing him still doing what he likes. I get hope from god and from science (I work on that one… myself as a science person).
Margaret C. My brother passed away from lung cancer on July 20,... New York Margaret New York Lung cancer Death Treatment CT screening Doctors Smoker Medications Therapy Family Tobacco Breathe My brother passed away from lung cancer on July 20, 2013 - he had learned he had lung cancer on June 23, 2013 - too late to receive any treatment or hope for a longer life. He was a perfect candidate to have had a CT screening for lung cancer, but neither he nor his doctors knew that. My brother had smoked for approximately 60 years and had tried to quit using group programs, nicotine replacement therapy, medications and even e-cigarettes, but was not able to quit until he received his lung cancer diagnosis and was at the point where he could barely breathe - which speaks to the terrible addictive nature of tobacco use. His 4 children and their spouses, 9 grandchildren, 3 sisters and countless friends miss him terribly! We need to do better for the victims of the tobacco industry - we need to make sure that primary care providers and the public know what the lung cancer screening guidelines are, and promote best practices for all lung cancer screening programs.
Mike T. I blame it on the cigarette companies - they knew... Virginia Mike Virginia Lung cancer Cigarette Smoking Quit Throat cancer X-ray Cough Tumor Biopsies Chemotherapy Radiation Family Treatment Survivor Lymph node Non-smoker Thyroid Shortness of breath I blame it on the cigarette companies - they knew smoking was dangerous yet denied it and still advertised it as OK, even implying that "light" cigarettes were an acceptable alternative. Some people are able to fight the narcotic effects better than others - I'm one of those who struggled and who was unable to finally quit until it was, it seems, too late. I was diagnosed with both lung cancer and throat cancer at the same time, five years after I finally quit smoking (thanks to all those who prayed for me and for "the patch"). My cancers were found only after a) my wife insisted on getting a chest x-ray to find the cause of my constant coughing, and b) I noticed a strange growth at the back of my mouth around the same time. Biopsies indicated the throat growth was cancer, but the lung growth appeared to be benign. Surgery followed to remove my throat tumor and parts of my lung; the lung growth turned out to be cancer after all. So chemo and radiation followed. Clean for about 4.5 years, only to have more cancer discovered in my lymph system. Surgery and chemo followed but that was only partially successful. And now there is more to come with potential other cancers showing up. But that's not all! Due to cigarette smoking, I've experienced a pulmonary embolism and a host of other smoking related problems (thyroid, breathing challenges - not to mention the chemo side effects). The only surprise with my treatment was that the radiation did not hurt. My challenges are to remain upbeat and confident that I will continue to get the best treatment available, and that it will be successful. I know the statistics - and I pray every day that I will beat the odds. This doesn't affect just me - it affects my family and our friends. It is a constant dark cloud over our lives - we are constantly wondering if we can make any plans for the future, or if we do whether we will be able to enjoy them. If you smoke, for God's sake, your sake and especially your loved ones sakes, stop! If someone you love smokes, please don't hesitate to work hard to get them to quit. If I can do it, I'm confident that ANYONE can do it. Just do it!
Michael H. On Friday, May 7, 2004, I received a call from my... North Carolina Michael North Carolina Lung cancer Bronchitis Chest x-rays Doctor Stage 4 Small cell Smoker Pills Nicotine patches Fighting Doctors Research Diet Palliative care Spine Brain Struggle Diagnosis Prognosis Suffering On Friday, May 7, 2004, I received a call from my sister. Meg had come from a doctor’s visit because of nagging bronchitis. She was headed to the hospital for chest X-rays. I told her to call after she talked to her doctor. When she called, it was not the news I was expecting. She was being admitted to the hospital for further testing. The hospital ran more tests over the weekend. On Monday, her doctor came to discuss the test results. He sat down on the edge of Meg’s hospital bed and reviewed the test results with us. Bottom line – Meg had Stage 4, small cell lung cancer and the prognosis wasn't good. In an instant, my sister became one of the more than 219,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer every year. My sister started smoking in high school because her friends were smoking and she wanted to “fit in,” to be accepted, to be cool. As she got older, she tried quitting. I can’t tell you how many times she tried over a period of 35 years. She just couldn’t beat the addiction. She tried nicotine patches, gum, pills, hypnosis, and acupuncture. Nothing worked. Sometimes she would go for a few months without smoking but she always was pulled back by nicotine’s addictive grip. She was finally able to quit smoking when she was told she had lung cancer. My sister was a fighter. She put together a battle plan as if she were a general preparing for battle. She met with her doctors, did research on the internet, she talked to other cancer patients and survivors, she spoke to dietitians, holistic practitioners, and anyone remotely connected to fighting terminal diseases. I guess it was like going into battle. A battle that she and too many others were fighting. We watched as her cancer went into remission and then came back several times. We watched as it spread to her spine and her brain. During the entire time she never once asked “why me?”. We were also with her on August 23, 2005, 18 months after her initial diagnosis, the day she died, just three days after her 50th birthday. No one should ever have to go through what she went through. I made a promise to her that day to do whatever I could to prevent others from suffering the way she did. I would take up the fight that she so bravely fought and lost. I began volunteering at the American Lung Association not long after my sister’s death. It was my way of doing something to help others with lung cancer and their caregivers, families and friends.
Dianna S. I am a 57 Year old Grandmother of two wonderful boys... Florida Dianna Florida Grandmother Lung cancer Stage 3 Husband Tests Treatments Company Support Environment I am a 57 Year old Grandmother of two wonderful boys and I found I'm Stage 3a Lung Cancer. I took control of my treatment immediately but must credit largely my husband of 38 years for standing at my side, asking questions, demanding answers and prodding me on as I'm now in my first weeks of treatments. There sure isn't dignity with Lung Cancer as some part of you is naked to the world throughout tests and treatments but there are many others like me (unfortunately) so I'm in good company. There is no cure, that is certain but you do get to plod on with some old and some new treatments and teams of people who really want the best for you. To all those in the "clean" world of health, pray for us who aren't, wrap your arms around someone who needs it and count your blessings.
Janice S. I was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in... Michigan Janice Michigan Diagnosis Lung cancer Non-small cell Tumor Doctors Henry Ford Hospital Detroit Surgery Oncologist Radiation Remission Treatments Side effects Disease Power Exercise I was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in August of this year. The tumor was around 2 centimeters. I consulted with a team of doctors at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI. The Surgeon explained he could not do lung surgery due to my COPD lung disease. He said I would not have a good quality of life if he removed the lung. The oncologist explained that I might be a candidate for SBVT radiation treatment. I then talked with the radiologist and he recommended I receive 4 targeted radiation treatments in September. When I returned on October 21, he told me the tumor had shrunk and to return in January of 2014. I will see the oncologist in November for a follow up also. This experience has been kind of surreal. I have not been sick. The treatments were easy with no side effects. Knowing that I have this cancer inside of me bothers me but I have faith and trust that the doctors will do the right thing by me. I have really concentrated on exercise and making future plans. I am not going to give into the disease. I have been very active in Relay for Life for the past 15 years and I have witnessed the power of positive thinking and prayer. I do not know what the future holds for me but I am ready for it.
Grace c. I was diagnosed with stage 3B lung cancer in June of... Florida Grace 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.
Frank S. Last year on November 2, my mom became ill when she... Massachusetts Frank Massachusetts Lung cancer Dizzy Stroke Symptoms Tests Tumors Brain Lung Stage 4 Surgery Chemotherapy Pill Morphine Side effects Doctors Support Family Bronchitis Pain Peace Last year on November 2, my mom became ill when she came home from work. She felt dizzy, and parked her car crooked when she arrived home. My dad took her to the ER afraid she was showing stroke symptoms. They ran many tests that week, and found tumors in her lung that had spread to her brain. It was already Stage IV. She had brain surgery on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Another tumor became aggressive and they needed to operate on the brain again on that Saturday. The surgeries were successful. She then needed radiation for a month while in rehab. After a while, she began chemo. The chemo was definitely making her weaker, but it looked like it was working on her lung tumors. Then they found them coming back again in her brain last May. They were going to start her on a chemo pill that could attack both the brain and lung together. It was a long wait of three weeks for the insurance to cover it, and they had to pay around $1600 to get a month’s worth. Then the weakness kept getting her, and she collapsed at home in my dad’s arms. He called an ambulance, and my mom never came home again. She went to the hospital, and the doctors told her the cancer was too aggressive. The chemo side effects would kill her sooner than the cancer would. From the hospital, she entered a nursing home the day after her birthday on June 3. She had trouble feeding herself because her left side didn't work because of the brain tumor. Pain increased because of tumors throughout her body. They started her on a strong dose of morphine when it became evident death was near. My mom passed on July 21 very peacefully. You always wonder if there is more I should have done. Should I have pushed harder for the chemo pill to arrive quicker? Ultimately though it did not work for her because the side effects were too strong. I loved my mom's doctors. They were so kind and understanding. Because it was Stage IV, it was tough right from the beginning. I wish it was discovered two or three years prior. She had bronchitis often with a bad cough but was never tested for lung cancer. I love my mom and miss her so much. It's hard to believe that almost 3 months have gone by. I told her I loved her all the time, and I hope she knows how much I did. I had to let her know it was OK for her to go, and I just hope she realizes how difficult that was for me. She needed to end the pain and not fight any longer. She needed to be at peace, and I feel she is in a better place.
John B. I don't have cancer, but I hope I never will. I have... New Hampshire John New Hampshire Painful Family Lung cancer Children Suffering Smoking Doctor Smoker Non-smoker Selfish I don't have cancer, but I hope I never will. I have seen firsthand how painful and devastating cancer is not just for the person dying, but on family members, children, parents, siblings, friends and other relatives. It is not just one person suffering and dying, it is a whole family. The damage is unimaginable. I still have my parents, thank God, but I have lost so many relatives. Uncles, Aunts, cousins, friends, neighbors, customers, all to cancer, but more specifically; SMOKING! I have heard too many times that;" oh, it's my, life”, " we're all going to die sometime", or "it'll never affect me”. But it happens fast, it is ugly, and it is painful. And it affects everyone around. Not just the dying person. To smoke, to disregard warnings, is the most selfish, and irresponsible thing you can do to your family. I am sorry to say, but to me, it is worse than suicide, murder, war, child abuse, and everything else. I find it more than offensive, I consider it criminal. I do not comprehend how someone can do that to themselves and others I love the 12 family members I have lost to smoking, but I wish they were still here. I miss them. If you care about yourself and your family, Don't Smoke! Don't abuse your body, get checkups, visit your doctor, don't give up on life.
Joyce K. I am sharing my lung cancer story because I want to... North Carolina Joyce North Carolina Lung cancer Hope Diagnosis Cough Clots Blood Physician X-ray Tumor Pulmonary specialist Washington, DC Tests Pneumonectomy Tumor Growth Research Non-small lung cancer Positive I am sharing my lung cancer story because I want to provide hope and inspiration! I was diagnosed with lung cancer twenty five years ago, at age 33. I was sitting at my desk at work when I coughed up a clot of blood. And, yes, I smoked for many years, so I thought I’d get that question out of the way. My primary physician took an x-ray which showed that I had a tumor in my left lung the size of a grapefruit. He told me to go home and relax for the weekend. Ha Ha So Mom and I went to see a pulmonary specialist, who immediately sent me over to Sibley Hospital in Washington, DC. As you all know, it is always highly recommended to get a 2nd opinion (and 3rd and so on). I saved my life by taking control over the situation. I was incredibly lucky! At the hospital, they took a series of tests and decided to remove my entire left lung, called a pneumonectomy, since my tumor had not metastasized to other sites in my body. I had non-small squamous cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This type of cancer is usually found centrally in the lung and is responsible for 30 percent of all non-small lung cancers. As you know, we've come such a long way in the last twenty-five years. Today there is so much growth in the areas of research and technology which was pretty much non-existent back then. Now we don’t have to rely solely on luck !! I learned to never give up; that angels really do exist; and that by sending positive energy out into the world it really does come back full circle.
HOPE C. A little over 3 years ago, I came down with... Mississippi HOPE Mississippi Pneumonia X-ray Lobe Lung cancer Biospy Surgery Carcinoma Oncologist Survivor Remission Lobectomy Chemotherapy A little over 3 years ago, I came down with Pneumonia. To confirm this, the doctor took a chest x-ray, which showed a spot on my lower right lobe of my lung. Biopsy confirmed that I had a Well Differentiated Carcinoma. The scary thing is that another x-ray on file from 5 years prior, showed the same spot! No one bothered to tell me to get it checked. In Feb. 2010, I had a lobectomy by a wonderful surgeon followed up by some precautionary chemo and a little over 3 years later, I am still cancer free. I was a former smoker, but had not smoked in over 25 years! So, as my oncologist told me... Pneumonia saved my life! Even with the lack of the lower right lobe, I lead a very normal life, exercise regularly (well, sort of, kind of), can walk 3 miles and I feel great. My goal after my surgery and before my post op check up with my surgeon, was to be able to walk a mile and I did!
Gail C. When I went to the ER in May 2011 with an acute GI... New York Gail New York Emergency room May 2011 Lung cancer Nodule PET scan Malignant Thoracic Surgery Recovery Lobe Disability Diagnosis Adenocarcinoma Non-small cell lung cancer Lymph node Recurrence Tumor When I went to the ER in May 2011 with an acute GI problem, I never expected to be told that the CT scan they had done had detected a lung nodule (unrelated to the GI problem). A follow up PET scan revealed that the nodule was "indeterminate" meaning it didn't "light up" very much. Since that meant it wasn't very metabolically active, there was hope that it wasn't cancer. My options: to wait three months & re-scan to see if the nodule grew, or to consult a thoracic surgeon about having a surgical biopsy. The nodule, being only 1.5 cm, was considered too small for a needle biopsy. My Internet search revealed that because I was close to 60 years old, and the nodule was over 1.0 cm, the probability of it being malignant was 65%. With those odds, I opted for surgery. I had Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery, technically laparoscopic, it's still considered major surgery. The pathology report during surgery revealed cancer so the surgeon removed the affected lobe of my lung. My surgeon told me while I was in Recovery that the tumor had been malignant. Knowing the odds, I can honestly say I was not surprised or shocked. I was just glad the tumor was gone. My surgery had gone very well and my recovery was going well. I was so relieved to have gotten through this terribly frightening and difficult time. Then I received copies of my disability papers from the surgeon's office in the mail and saw these words: "Diagnosis: Lung Cancer". I cried my eyes out. Those words pertained to me. I had lung cancer! Seeing it written was quite a shock. Although my life has changed forever, at this point, I still consider myself fortunate. That lung nodule, if it hadn't been detected incidentally during my ER visit, would have undoubtedly progressed to Stage IV lung cancer before any symptoms would've appeared. I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, a subtype of Non-small cell lung cancer. But I was lucky. The tumor was well-differentiated and I was staged at 1a, the earliest stage lung cancer can be detected. There had been no lymph node involvement. My surgeon told me the tumor had been very well contained. I needed no further treatment. I have a pretty fair shot at a cure, but unfortunately, I still face the very real possibility of recurrence and therefore must be monitored by scans every six months. It's very difficult living from scan to scan never knowing what the next one might reveal. I would love to have my old, carefree life back again.