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I have had 3 rounds with cancer. My first was in 1992, I was diagnosed with Gallbladder cancer. No symptoms, just one gallbladder attack. For whatever reason, the doctor decided not to wait but to remove it. I had surgery two weeks later. The strange thing was that when I went back for the follow up, I came to a complete stop when we were walking into the building. I can still remember it so clearly. I had such a feeling of dread pass through me. I told my husband that I had a bad feeling that they found something bad, of course he thought I was being silly. They had, the pathology report came back ,found cancer. Now, it is very rare and they didn't know how to handle. Some research was done and another surgery to clean up and take samples. It was contained to the gallbladder and no further treatment was needed. Then in 2008, I had a routine appointment with my PCP, normal yearly chest x-ray was done. They found a small spot in my left lung. So, tests and more tests. They removed my upper left lobe in April 2008, stage 1B, N0, M0. I started feeling very sorry for myself, moping around the house and eating and gaining so much weight that I could hardly move. One night I decided that I had survived cancer twice but I was going to let the weight kill me. So, I started working out and watching what I ate. I lost the weight and started running. I have done countless 5k's, 10k's and 2 1/2 marathons. There was still a place inside me that felt guilty for surviving without having to go through treatment. I was hesitant to tell anyone that I was a lung cancer survivor, still such a strong stigma attached to it. Fast forward to 2017. Routine blood work, except my PCP ordered a different one that my oncologist didn't order. The numbers were on the high side, wait a couple of months and repeat, higher yet. OK, the start of all the tests again. Small nodule in my upper right lung. Saw a new oncologist (mine had retired), he said let's wait and see, next day it went in front of the tumor board, change of plans, lets get rid of this now. June 20th they removed my upper right lung, stage 1A, N0, no further treatment need just monitor for the next 5 years. I am walking more and getting ready for my first 5k post surgery. I have decided that I can become a voice for early detection. I have lost family and friends because they waited until it was too late. Former smokers and people with a family history of cancers should get regular check ups so anything can be caught early in the game.I want to let people know that you can have life after lung cancer, it is not always a death sentence. My first 5k is on September 10th and it is for cancer patients, all money raised goes to support the patients in need. I have had a special shirt made up just for my runs.
I can't attach a picture of the shirt, but the back reads:
Early detection works
1992- gallbladder cancer
2008 Lung cancer - upper left lobe
2017 Lung cancer - upper right lobe.
The front simply states that there is always hope.
Thank you for letting me share.
How do you deal with family members whom you normally only see a few times a year who now decide they need to make multiple visits???? Short of telling them all where to go. We have tried to set boundaries & time frames. We have a schedule we are on and they get very offended when I tell them NO and turn around and call my husband who wants everyone to get along. He is afraid to hurt someone's feelings. I on the other hand could care less. These people are not left with the aftermath of their visits. I get left with the totally wiped out shell of the person who is sick. It would be nice if they would offer help or bring a meal or offer to run an errand. Instead they come in plop down dissect our life and need to know everything and cruise back out the door only to reappear a few days later. I am just pissed off, frustrated and want to smack some of them. It is like they have no common sense.
A good example is our Sunday morning trip to ER @ 5:30 a.m.where we stayed till 10:30 a.m.. Planned visitors called ahead and when I said we just got back from ER they said we will be there in a half hour for a visit. Meanwhile I still had to feed him and get him settled back in. Common sense would have had me saying I will pass on the visit.
I got the news last week that my mom has stage 3 lung cancer. It really tore me apart, she's my best friend and I owe everything I have, and every part of who I am to her. When she was younger she also battled and won the battle with lymphoma. I've always been so proud of her for that, but I wasn't around to see her go through all of the treatments and how they can change a person. I'm scared to see how the treatment for her lung cancer will affect her. My dad is her primary caregiver but we will all be helping her through this as much as possible. He was by her side through her cancer the first time so I'm happy he will be with her again. He is good at staying positive. I've been doing a lot of crying in private, but staying positive around the family, especially my mom herself. She herself is staying positive, saying today that "she's got this" after we learned after her MRI showed that she had no other tumors in her body as of now besides in her lung. After learning this I felt a big sense of relief, but then it slowly faded once I realized how hard this was still going to be to fight. I don't feel right for allowing myself to breathe and feel hopeful, I feel like I should take this as realistically as possible but I'm not informed enough to even know what that entails.
Tomorrow she sees a surgeon to see if she should do chemo and surgery or chemo and radiation. At first glance before the MRI they didn't think surgery would be an option at all, so I feel a bit of optimism that maybe surgery can happen after chemo now. I know people have beaten lung cancer with just chemo and radiation. I also know a family friend's mother just had half of her lung removed and is in remission doing very well. These things make me feel so much better but I know every single case is different. My mother is the most resilient, strongest, and most selfless woman in the world. Everyone who meets her loves her and her smile lights up the room. I want to know what I can do to make this easier on her, my brothers, my dad, and myself as well. What are the steps to take? What can I expect to change in our lives? She's always taken care of me and been my rock and I plan to do the same for her.
Any advice, thoughts, anything would be good.