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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Frank l. I was a volunteer responder on 9/11 and was present... New York Frank New York 9/11 Primary lung cancers Smoker Victim Lobe Kidney cancer Bladder cancer Surgery Diagnosis Radiation Chemotherapy Fatigue Depression Anger Lung cancer Oncologist Remission PET scans Volunteer I was a volunteer responder on 9/11 and was present at ground zero for over 2 months. In February, 2006 I was diagnosed with my first of 3 primary lung cancers. Since I had been a lifetime smoker of course that stigma was placed on me. "Well, you gave it to yourself" was more or less what I heard. If you were a smoker and have lung cancer, the first thing to do is not fall victim to this kind of thinking. People who have never smoked get lung cancer. Ignore that discrimination. You're not your own victim. After having a lobe removed I was diagnosed with kidney and bladder cancer in November, 2006. Again, surgery caught it before it spread. In September, 2011 lung cancer returned. Again it was caught in time. In August, 2012 a 3rd lung cancer was diagnosed. This time surgery was impossible so I underwent 3 months of radiation and 7 months of intense chemo. It was the worst time of my life. Fatigue, depression, anger, feeling sick every day drove me to the point of giving up and letting cancer win. It was a very difficult challenge and I didn't want to live anymore. But I didn't give up. In June of 2013 I was admitted to the hospital with acute renal failure. The cause? Chemotherapy. My kidneys just couldn't take it any longer and my oncologist told me we would have to discontinue chemo. I began preparing myself for the inevitable. BUT, a follow-up PET scan showed that my cancer had gone into remission. After subsequent PET scans, it continues to be in remission. The treatments were brutal but they worked. Most importantly, all these cancers were found and treated due to early detection. I can't stress enough how important it is to be regularly monitored and screened. My first lung cancer was detected through a routine chest x-ray. It saves lives. Although I'm not particularly religious, I prayed a lot. Did it help? Maybe. Miracles do happen. I have since been certified by the World Trade Center Health Monitoring Program as a cancer victim due to my exposure to dangerous pollutants at Ground Zero. If you smoke, quit immediately, just don’t be intimidated and embarrassed by the finger pointers. It will only serve to blame yourself and interfere with your battle. I'm now in full recovery, getting my life back, surrounded by loving family and friends who were by my side throughout my ordeal. HAVE HOPE. As the saying goes: “It’s not over until the fat lady sings", and my "fat lady" is nowhere to be seen. Be brave, be strong and fight, fight, fight!
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.
Gloria R. Five years ago, at the age of 60, my intuition told... Pennsylvania Gloria Pennsylvania CT scan Brain Insurance Symptoms X-Ray Hospital Advice Support Surgery Lobe Stage 1 Chemotherapy Radiation Risk factors Smoker Non-smoker Five years ago, at the age of 60, my intuition told me to get a CT scan - my brain also urged this, as I'd smoked for 25 years. My insurance company refused to pay for a CT scan, as I had no symptoms; they only authorized an X-ray, which showed no problems. A few months later, I found a clinical trial for COPD where I got a free CT scan. This CT scan showed a small tumor in the lowest lobe of my right lung. I received wonderful treatment at the Hospital of Univ. of Penn - advice, support, and finally surgery to remove that lobe. Fortunately, the tumor was contained and was only stage 1A, so I did not require chemo or radiation, only surgery. Subsequent CT scans have been clean. I'm a strong supporter of screening CT scans for people who've smoked or have other risk factors.
Jes W. I was nine years old when I was affected by lung... Ohio Jes Ohio Lung cancer Dad Disease Battle Resilience Doctors Hospice Comfort Diagnosis Medicine Treatments Healthy Cancer-free Death Family I was nine years old when I was affected by lung cancer. My dad passed away from lung cancer after a three year battle with the disease. It taught me as a young girl about resilience and staying strong in the face of such a hard life lesson. While my dad passed away from cancer I saw how much the doctors, nurses, and hospice tried to cure the disease and later make him comfortable. Trained staff dealing with people and that diagnosis sometimes made the difference in how my father, the family, and I dealt with the situation. I want others to know that medicine has progressed so far in the nineteen years since my dad passed away that they should feel confident in the medical treatments these days and that the trained professionals involved will work with you and your family as much as they can, because they want what you want, for the person diagnosed to live and live healthy and cancer free.
Elizabeth R. My husband's story is sadly typical; it all started... California Elizabeth California Cough Bronchitis Blood Nonsmoker Lung cancer Smoking Radiation Pneumonia Treatments Chemotherapy MRI Surgery Clinical trials Hospice Palliative care Family Friends Detection Tumor My husband's story is sadly typical; it all started with a cough. It could be heard throughout the house and he was incapacitated by it. At first they thought it was bronchitis, when it became bloody they tested for TB. We never thought of lung cancer, he was 41 and didn't smoke. After months of ruling things out and extended hospital stays we found out it was lung cancer. He had the best possible care but it was probably too late. Radiation started immediately, if they could shrink the tumor then they could clear the pneumonia. Six weeks later, after daily pneumonia treatments and two rounds of chemo he could come home. Life was never the same. The doctors figured out how to control the cough because of the radiation. We couldn't do an MRI so we falsely hoped it was stage 3. We went to specialists, talked to surgeons about removing the lung and looked into clinical trials. He was too far gone for surgery so we pinned our hopes on chemotherapy and clinical trials. Every day he was sicker and we told ourselves it was the chemo. It wasn't fair; he was too young, a good man, we had a good marriage and our boy was only six. On his 43rd birthday we got the results from the MRI and clinical trials were are only hope. Once he was released from the hospital from the third stay we went to specialist again trying to see if there was a trial. For the first time insurance denied a chemo treatment. Radiation was ordered for his lower back and I took to fighting for more treatment. One morning I noticed he couldn't move his right arm, later we found out the cancer had broken his neck and one wrong move could end his life. It was during this hospital stay we filed a DNR. They offered surgery to repair the break but no promise he would survive the operation. Radiation continued to reduce the tumor in his neck but we were grasping at hope. My husband was released to home hospice care. I would like to say he died peacefully but it was painful. The amazing nurses did their best to keep him comfortable as first his mind slipped away then his body. Jorenz was diagnosed on May 2, 2011 and died on October 14, 2011. I have the wonderful support of family and friends but am now raising our wonderful boy alone. My hope is to discover the causes of lung cancer and early detection. It is often discovered when it is too late to do more than pray for just a little time.
June A. My mom was a healthy 40 years plus nonsmoker who one... Louisiana June Louisiana Healthy Smoking Nonsmoker Lung cancer Laryngitis Antibiotics X-ray Stage 4 Death Hope My mom was a healthy 40 years plus nonsmoker who one day developed laryngitis and was on antibiotics for it. After 2 weeks of seeing the doctor for this condition and antibiotics the doctor ordered a chest X-ray to see what was going on. She was then diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. A month later she passed. I then became involved with The American Lung Association. I have started a Fight for Air Walk in my home town. I have wrote letters to Congress to voice my opinion on what should be done to early detect Lung Cancer. I feel if we can diagnosis Lung Cancer sooner we would have a lower death rate!!! We need to SAY IT, FIGHT IT,CURE IT!! We can't give up HOPE!!!
Frank C. In Dec. 2009 I went for my annual physical, all went... California Frank California Physical Doctor X-ray Biopsy Lung cancer Symptoms Running Chemotherapy Death Surgery Prognosis Lymph nodes PET scans Faith Family In Dec. 2009 I went for my annual physical, all went well. I had a new doctor as mine had retired. By chance he gave me a chest x-ray. Not standard procedure, but as my new primary he wanted to be thorough I suppose. I went home and soon received a call to go to the hospital right now, I had a spot on my lung. I got a biopsy and indeed I had a tumor the size of a baseball in my right lung. I had no symptoms. I was playing softball three times a week and running with no problem. After diagnosis I felt like a walking dead man. They told me it is not necessarily a death sentence anymore. I went for chemo for about eight weeks. On March tenth, after playing a double header on the ninth, I went for surgery and lost 40 percent of my right lung. They said most of the tumor was dead and my prognosis was good. They removed 37 lymph nodes and none had cancer. After a brief rest I went back for two or three more chemo visits. I was done, and it is now over three years later. I feel good being back playing softball. I get CT and PET scans to monitor my lung, which I suppose will be true the rest of my life. I must admit, when I get a scan I am nervous until I get results. So far so good. It went exactly as my doctors said, the only doctor I see now is lung doctor. I was lucky. Keep the faith.
Cheryl S. It's been almost five years since my then 12-year... Ohio Cheryl Ohio Daughter Mother Diagnosis Lung cancer Disease Cough Early detection Hope Knowledge Stage 3 Support Family Friends It's been almost five years since my then 12-year old daughter came running down the stairs in tears to tell me one of her best friend's mother had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. Carolyn was just 44 years old, had never smoked and now had Stage 3b lung cancer. She was not only Mom to my daughter's friend, age 12, but also two little boys, then ages 9 and 5. The shock rippled through our group of "Mom Friends." How could this be happening??? The prognosis was very grim. Despite valiant efforts to stem the tide of the disease, it took my friend and the Mother of these very beautiful children in just seven months. The last day before she entered the hospital for the final time, she walked the 2 mile length of our community's Fourth of July parade with her sons. If only her cough that just wouldn't go away had been diagnosed earlier, Carolyn might still be with us today. My hope is for earlier detection and better knowledge about why lung cancer is striking women in such high numbers.
Allen M. My late wife, a long-time cigarette smoker, died of... Virginia Allen Virginia Wife Cigarette Smoker Health Tumors Lung cancer Suspicion My late wife, a long-time cigarette smoker, died of lung cancer because she delayed having suspected lung tumors removed and treated while she lacked decent health care coverage.
Cindy B. My father, a non-smoker, passed from lung cancer... Connecticut Cindy My father, a non-smoker, passed from lung cancer nearly five years ago. He was diagnosed after he developed a cough treated for a few months as pneumonia. The cancer was spotted a few years earlier at an ER visit, but the results were never passed along. He worked in a boat yard for many years, and that is what we suspect to be the cause. I recently acquired adult-onset asthma from mold exposure in my workplace, and am on daily inhalers and will be lifelong. Lung issues don't just happen to smokers. The environment we live and work in play a big part in lung health.
Denise H. I am a 3 year lung cancer survivor and happy to... New York Denise New York Lung cancer Survivor Non-small cell lung cancer Lobe Chemotherapy Surgery Treatment Confidence Family Side effects Smoking Nonsmoker Health Lung health I am a 3 year lung cancer survivor and happy to report my life is very much back to normal. I was diagnosed with stage 2 non-small cell lung cancer in June 2010 and had the upper lobe of my right lung removed in July 2010. I was fortunate to have an excellent surgeon and a wonderful support system. As a precaution I underwent 3 months of chemotherapy, not pleasant but you do what you have to do. When the doctor confirmed it was lung cancer the first thought I had was that I was going to die. I had never heard of anyone living with this disease. As quickly as that thought came to me it left just as quickly. I decided that I was going to fight this and win. When I met my surgeon, I had such confidence in him that I felt I was already cured. Lung cancer and the treatments definitely take a toll on your life, your family, and your finances. But this is all temporary. Three years later I can honestly say I have never felt better. There are a few side effects from the surgery and chemotherapy but nothing that has stopped me from living my life. Stairs and hills do leave me short of breath but at 67 I'm happy that I'm able to do them. I beat lung cancer because I had the belief that I could, the support of my children and God. I want lung cancer patients to know that they can survive. I want them to know that whether they were smokers or not, if you have lungs you can get lung cancer. There are advances being made in improving lung health so stay strong and believe that you can get through this.
craig b l. I'm a 90-year-old retired surgeon. In WW 2 I was a... Oregon craig b Oregon Surgeon Marine Cigarettes Tobacco Lung cancer Addiction Lung cancer Friendship Physician Death Failure I'm a 90-year-old retired surgeon. In WW 2 I was a Marine. Our K-rations and C-rations had packets of 4 cigarettes each. I got hooked. In medical school about 1950 I learned that tobacco causes lung cancer, and tried to quit. I failed over and over, as the addiction was powerful. The tobacco companies denied it for years, but, in spite of their lies and obstructionism, the truth finally got out. I saw growing numbers of young people with lung cancer, and continued my efforts to kick the addiction till 1973. A friend and fellow physician was dying of lung cancer. At his deathbed I thanked him for our friendship and asked if I could do anything for him. He asked me to light a cigarette and hold it so he could smoke it, since he was too weak to do it himself. He died the next day. I have never smoked again. I want people to NOT START smoking, and to stop if they have already started.
DeWitt H. Lung cancer took my wonderful brother Richard from... New Mexico DeWitt New Mexico Lung cancer Death Young Brother Lung cancer took my wonderful brother Richard from his wife and extended family when he was only 56. That's been 12 years ago, but of course I think of him very often. Many things remind me of him, and so many lives have been affected by his death.
Debbie S. On Sept. 11, 2012, I experienced chest pains which... Oregon Debbie Oregon Chest pains Acid reflux Biopsy Non-small cell Carcinoma Survivor Surgery Lymph nodes Diagnosis Chemotherapy Fighting Family Emotions Radiation Brain Family On Sept. 11, 2012, I experienced chest pains which were diagnosed as acid reflux. Chest pains require a chest x-ray, which showed a shadow on my left lung. A subsequent CAT scan determined the shadow to be a mass and a biopsy on Sept. 14th diagnosed the mass as non-small cell carcinoma or lung cancer. So began my cancer survivor journey, thanks to acid reflux. My MRI, PET scan and blood tests were clear. Feeling good, lots of energy and no other symptoms made this diagnosis hard to believe. Plan was to remove my left upper lung which contained the mass. The surgeon removed sample lymph nodes through my throat to determine if the cancer had spread and, unfortunately, it had. So surgery was cancelled and I began 4 rounds of chemotherapy. To say chemotherapy is not fun, is a big understatement. It is very hard - hard on your body, hard on your mind, hard on your emotions, hard on your family - just plain HARD. The good news is that it will stop at some point. That fact kept me going. Chemo did end and my surgery was scheduled again. This time surgery was completed and chemo had fried the cancerous mass. Chemo does work! The surgeon also removed lymph nodes, some were clear and a few were cancerous. Cancerous lymph nodes meant radiation was now part of my plan. I had 26 rounds of radiation - five days a week for 5 weeks. Radiation was not as bad as chemo - slight burn that lotion took care of. But, the radiation regime did mess with my mind. The machine is huge and scary and everyone leaves the room, except you! Procedure doesn't last long, but the idea of rays going through your body is hard to ignore. I kept my eyes closed and prayed. One of the worse parts of my entire treatment plan was when it was all ending. After fighting for so long, the thought of not fighting was hard. If I wasn't fighting, would the cancer could come back? How could I live without seeing my supportive, positive doctors & their staff? How could I trust my body again? But, it was over and has been for 6 months. I have quarterly CT scans - all clear to date! I'm challenged daily by the "cancer demons" that try to instill fear. I work hard to keep them at bay and have learned keeping busy helps a lot. If I have to fight cancer again, I will. Chemo, radiation, surgery - I'd do it all again because I won't give up life easily. Three things got me though cancer - God, family & friends. I am so blessed & grateful to be a cancer survivor.
Deborah W. My husband found out he had lung cancer after trying... Connecticut Deborah Connecticut Husband Lung Cancer Cold Pneumonia Scan Chemotherapy Early Finances My husband found out he had lung cancer after trying to fight a cold. First the doctor told him he had a bad cold. It would not go away and turned into pneumonia. They sent him for a scan and it was the worst news ever: it was lung cancer. He fought for a year trying all types of chemo. None of them touched the cancer. I would just like to tell everyone that please have yourself checked early- don't wait. My husband’s was too far when we found out. We never gave up hope. I never believed I would lose him. You need to get all your personal finances in place even if you do have a great outcome, at least you are set. Enjoy every day like it is your last and cherish all the memories you make and have.
Cheryl V. I coughed up blood July 4, 2000, and being a... Oregon Cheryl Oregon Cough Blood Respiratory Tuberculosis Lump Smoker Lung cancer Disease Chemotherapy Radiation Weight Hair Hope Recovery Bronchoscopy Pathologist Hope Death Survival I coughed up blood July 4, 2000, and being a respiratory therapist who had a chronic cough for about 3 months, decided it must be tuberculosis that I was exposed to. Wrong...Went to the doctor, had a chest x-ray and was told that "lump" in the right bronchial area was either the aortic arch or a mass. Of course it was the wrong side for aorta, so I knew we had a major problem. Yes I was a smoker and had quit about one year prior. Because I had worked at the hospital where I was treated, things went fairly quickly. I saw my oncologist, who at that time was the only lung cancer expert in Oregon. She delivered the news after all the testing that it was adenocarcinoma stage III B and it was inoperable. At that time she said the chances for survival were about 10%. That truly changed my perspective on life. We discussed the SW Oncology Group Protocol which I was soon undergoing. Chemotherapy and radiation at the same time. All the horror stories of this treatment are true. I lost weight, lost all hair, became extremely tired. My family hopped onto the internet to learn all they could about lung cancer. After an extended time on the computer they knew I was dead. Knowing deep down that I would survive this, and also knowing that what is published is the result of studies and scientific facts I ordered the computer turned off. Hope, determination, prayers and positive attitude do not play into those studies but it sure does in real life situations. I was fortunate enough to have a big dose of it all throughout my recovery as well as the expert treatment from my physician. I had a scare in August of this year when my breathing took an extreme downturn and I ended up in the hospital having a rigid bronchoscopy to remove what was blocking my right bronchial tube. You could hear me wheezing throughout the office and home. Turned out to be just some tissue that had blocked my airway and when it was removed, it was found by the pathologist to be non cancerous tissue. We definately will keep an eye on the area for any recurrence. I am now out 13 years without a recurrence. I still work and enjoy life. I have a chronic cough as a result of my adventure. The thought of a cigarette does not even enter my mind and I do not intend to die of lung cancer. Do not lose hope if lung cancer touches you.
Diane G. On February 9, 2011, my mother's birthday, I was... New Jersey Diane On February 9, 2011, my mother's birthday, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. I was a 35 year old, non-smoker who just gave birth for the second time 5 months earlier. I was a healthy person who in 4 years had two healthy pregnancies. I developed a cough and shortness of breath a few weeks after the delivery. Ignoring it, I took care of my children and went about my life. The coughing started keeping us up at night and I figured I'll go to the doctor after the holidays and before I returned to work as a teacher. After x-rays and scans I was put in the hospital a week while they tried to figure out that mysterious spot in my right upper lobe. After an unpleasant biopsy it was confirmed I had non-small cell adenocarcinoma of the lung. My journey had begun, I have had chemotherapy, radiation, attempted surgery, clinical trial, and continued chemotherapy. Currently my doctors work to control and maintain the cancer to keep it localized. I have been through many obstacles along the way, too many to write in this story. But this is what I want people to take away. Lung cancer is not just a smoker’s disease. It causes families as much heartache and pain as other cancers. Never give up. No matter how hard it gets I push through. I do it for myself, my husband, and my children. They deserve a strong mother who can at least teach them to never quit no matter how hard. I fight for them. This country needs to pay more attention to a cancer who kills the most men and women. It is a silent killer with little to no symptoms. I was lucky to find my cancer, at least it gave me a fighting chance.