Rita E.'s Story

Idaho – My husband, Kelly, is a lung cancer survivor - yes, you read correctly - stage 3.5 small cell in his right lung. It would take a long while and too much space to tell you exactly what happened - but I will shorten it and tell the key points. In Jan. 2012 Kelly was diagnosed. We had a decision to make - chemo vs. surgery. We needed no time to decide - we looked at each other and said surgery, "Just get it out". He had 2/3 of his lung removed, followed up by chemo which made him seriously ill - sepsis. And then he had ARDS - Adult Respiratory Disease Syndrome. That is when your lungs fill up with fluid and there is no air to breathe - his x-rays looked like he had no lungs...all white-out. This was by far the scariest time in my life. I had help, the hospital staff, ICU members and my family and religion. I have learned through this to never give up hope. Our future looked dim, he was in the ICU and in a coma now for 6 weeks on a ventilator. Every day I would go and talk to him, read and watch the TV, put on football games and ESPN. One day I was reading the new schedule for his favorite team, the Packers, and he was raising his eyebrows and smirked with every team I mentioned. He was still there! Still with me!! My husband was taken off the ventilator some 10 weeks later and he opened his eyes and looked around. I said “Hi yourself ... have a good sleep?” He went through weeks of rehab learning to walk, talk, eat and just stand up, but most all breathe. I want everyone to know who has lung cancer or ARDS, there is help and there is always hope. And help along the way, the American Lung Association, Cancer Society and your hospital rehab can get you in touch with someone or something you need. I want everyone to know that each case is different, but you must always believe - and never give up hope.

 

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