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Let's Bend the Rules for All the Right Reasons

Let's Bend the Rules for All the Right Reasons By: Amanda Nerstad    This pandemic has been hard on everyone. Covid-19 is scary to me, especially as a stage IV lung cancer patient. I have followed all of the rules. I mask up when I go out, I choose to stay home  as much as I can, I’m not visiting other homes, our family is not taking visitors in our home, we use grocery delivery services and we do our best to keep everyone healthy.             I’ve had to explain to my daughters

LUNGevityKristin

LUNGevityKristin in covid vaccine

Reoriented

Or to quote my high school baseball coach: "Reorientated." A cancer diagnosis, especially a "terminal" one, can cause that. However, what I'm addressing this week is money: what to do with what you have when you didn't expect you'd still have it. And by 'have it,' I mean you're still alive and you still have some control over what to do with it. What this previous paragraph questions is what to do with the money you've accumulated your whole life after you've outlived your original prognosi

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

Cancer and COVID-19...

...don't exactly go together like milk and cookies. Rather, they go together like snow and ice. One or the other is bad enough, but together they become even worse. And unfortunately I have one and am constantly worried/mindful of the other. Moreover, since COVID is kind of a pulmonary issue, those of us who have cancer in the lungs, where we're already compromised, need to contract a virus like this like Washington, DC needs a "wintry mix'' in the forecast. In the course of my ongoing papi

anguish...

mum has been ill for 11 months now. some hospitalisations, care at home. chemotherapy treatments.  The doctor tells us that mum is ready to stop fighting. What a cowardly catch.  He tells us to prepare ourselves for the hardest part. She is making her way. She is accepting the disease, and the fatality. Because the treatment will not be able to save her.  It is the anguish.... we do as usual, we wait, the day when, mum will tell us "I don't want to fight anymore", "I'm tired, let me go".

Z-Jeanne

Z-Jeanne in anguish

In Effect, a Trade

Incurable but treatable non-small cell lung cancer, stage IV for incurable but treatable papillary thyroid cancer stage IV. And though it may have taken a while to get re-diagnosed (nearly 11 years), the eagle, as they say, apparently has landed. Nevertheless, I'm glad to still be here. Let me amend that. After being given my first "terminal" diagnosis in late February, 2009, with an accompanying "13 month to two year" prognosis, I am glad to be anywhere. Still, it would have been preferred had

New Year, Old Problem: Cancer

As I sit and write here, with too much time on my hands, I can't help but consider my lot in life. In a little less than two months: Feb. 20, I will celebrate (if that's even the right word), the 12-year anniversary of my original cancer diagnosis. On that date, I received a phone call at work from my internal medicine doctor advising me that the previous week's surgical biopsy indicated a malignancy in my lungs. The following week, Team Lourie was sitting in an oncologist's office waiting for t

Trip, and Hopefully Not a Fall

Having recently returned from a driving sojourn through the south with stops and stays in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida visiting four sets of friends in those three states, I can say with certainty that wearing masks, social distancing and common sense consideration for your fellow citizen were not nearly so accepted as we had hoped. Though we didn't exactly mingle with the masses, we were, nonetheless, in unchartered territory. As such, my wife and I will be getting COVID tests aft

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LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

Three Strikes ...

... and now I'm out - of the Handel's Messiah sweepstakes. The sweepstakes being to write in 50 words or less on "Why do you love Handel's Messiah?" All I can answer is one word: Hallelujah, and I don't mean the chorus either. 'Three strikes' refers to the number of times I have now been subjected to this "holiday tradition." The first time I was an attendee - with thousands of other Washingtonians. in a jam-packed National Cathedral one Christmas season. The second time, while visiting my fathe

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LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

"Medican't" Take It Anymore

The non-stop - or, so it seems - television advertising letting all of us viewers know that the 2020 Medicare Open Enrollment window is about to slam shut is nearly over. For those of us age 65 or older, this is not an opportunity to ignore. And given the frequency and repetition (the commercials are repeated, rarely ever different), at least on the channels that I watch (maybe that's the problem?), I feel like Bill Murray reliving his previous 24 hours endlessly in the movie Groundhog Day. Howe

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LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

Non VA Specialist Care for Veterans

Recently found out that I have cancer in  left lung along with pleurisy effusion  and enlarged lymph glands. I will be getting a biopsy and drain the pleurisy effusion this week,  I have a C&P exam next week that will designate  me as a Veteran with a 100% service connected disability.  This will be a major factor in working with the expenses that are sure to happen with me.  I am able to secure a non-VA specialist since my local VA Medical Center is not equipped to work with lung cancer pat

Patagonia

Patagonia in Veteran

A Bone to Pick

Not that I'm the most-stressed about it, but I am at least stressed about a bone scan I'm having this week. The reason being that thyroid cancer that's metastasized - which mine has, sometimes moves to the bones. And since I have some knee-hip discomfort, particularly when I get up from a seated position, my oncologist ordered this two-step diagnostic process: an injection of something followed a few hours later by the actual scan to assess the damage. Not that I want to look for trouble (since

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LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

A Day of Thanks

It is a beautiful Thanksgiving Day in Texas. Amid COVID mayhem we are suffering, Mother Nature decided to intervene and give us this gorgeous day to remind me about the important things in life. I've been blessed in so many ways since my surprise lung cancer diagnosis in February 2004. I married the love of my life, walked my daughter down the aisle, experience the birth of my granddaughter, enjoyed glorious vacations, and perhaps most important found meaning and purpose for life after lung

Tom Galli

Tom Galli in Stay The Course Blog

A Question of Time

Let us presume, for the sake of this column, that I only have papillary thyroid cancer stage IV, and that my years as a non-small cell lung cancer patient, also stage IV, are over. If true, it begs the question, which I have been asked twice since this recategorization has become - in my circle anyway, public knowledge: how does it make me feel (to no longer be one scan result away from having months to live to now having years to live)? As obvious an answer as it should be: I can't exactly get

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

I'm Here to Report

As my brother, Richard, has often said: "If the oncologist is happy then I'm happy." Let me update that sentiment slightly: "If the endocrinologist is happy then I'm happy." And so we should all be happy. Yesterday, I had my post CT scan telephone appointment with my endocrinologist to discuss the previous day's lab work and the two days previous scan. She was "very encouraged." "News," as I told her, "with which I can live." And more than just the words she spoke, it's the manner in which she s

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

As Second Opinions Go ...

... it was first-rate. A confirmation (of sorts) that I have (and have had in all likelihood) thyroid cancer and not non-small cell lung cancer. And I say 'sorts' because the medical records transferred did not include the original pathologist's report on the tissue sample taken in 2009 and not all the scans from the nearly 12 years of treatment either. Nevertheless, this second oncologist summarized my cancer as being thyroid, partially because I'm still alive. Generally speaking, lung cancer p

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

Better Late Than Never ...

... to get a second opinion about one's first cancer, especially if there's now a second cancer to consider. For most of the nearly 12 years during which I've been a cancer patient, my diagnosis has been non-small cell lung cancer stage IV. Within the past 10 months or so, it has become apparent and subsequently confirmed by a surgical biopsy of a tumor located in my lungs that I have papillary thyroid cancer. The big question remains - and has not been agreed to by my endocrinologist and oncolo

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LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

Missive or Dismissive

For the last few months, I have been receiving unsolicited emails from Tommy Chug; he being the other half of the 70's era comedy duo, "Cheech and Chong," with whom I spent countless hours in college laughing at their recorded routines, but beyond that I don't remember much. There were a few follow-up movies, which I never saw, and more recently, I have found somewhat belatedly a early 2000s cop show starring Cheech Marin alongside Don Johnson: "Nash Bridges." Nothing at all from Tommy Chong unt

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LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

I'll Think About That Tomorrow

What I'm thinking about - and being thankful for, today, is the disappearance of all the side effects I've been experiencing during the last four weeks or so since I began my pill regimen for my papillary thyroid cancer treatment. Too many to list but upwards of a dozen side effects which encompass all activities from those of daily living to others pertaining to just plain living. Let me reprint the warning that came with the pills: "People using this medication may have serious side effects. H

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LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

"And Awaaay We Go!"

As Jackie Gleason would say as he segued from his monologue into the sketch comedy that followed on his Saturday night entertainment hour on CBS. So too does my entertainment - or lack thereof, continue. Six weeks or so after my treatment for thyroid cancer (three pills a day) began, per doctor's orders, we have put a halt to the proceedings. Due to increasing values in my bi-weekly lab work (monitored exactly for this purpose), specifically my kidney and liver functions, I am standing down and

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

An Update About Some Down Time

Not that I want to give you a blow-by-blow concerning my treatment switch over to thyroid cancer from lung cancer but the last two columns were written four weeks ago in the same week in expectation of a weekend away, so these observations will be new-ish in that they will be hot off the press, so to speak. Away with the kind of friends who are empathetic, sympathetic, and who never make me feel pathetic in any of my struggles. In short, the best kind of friends. This is important because when o

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

Immunotherapy Drug Boosts Survival for Lung Cancer Patients

https://consumer.healthday.com/cancer-information-5/lung-cancer-news-100/immunotherapy-drug-boosts-survival-for-lung-cancer-patients-761655.html   THURSDAY, Oct. 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- A newly approved drug for the leading form of the number one cancer killer, lung cancer, does improve patient survival, a new study confirms. The immunotherapy drug Tecentriq (atezolizumab) was approved earlier this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with newly diag

And So It Continues

Two-plus weeks into my thyroid cancer treatment, all is as I anticipated. I'm still not in a comfort zone, routine-wise, nor side effect-wise, I am feeling some predicted discomfort. I won't self-indulge and list the difficulties that I'm having. I will say that even though I'm extremely thankful not to have experienced any of the more severe side effects (blood clots, arrhythmia), I have felt something. The 'something' I've felt has been made more complicated due to the synthroid pill I take da

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog in Survivor Story

Covid and me

This is story I did with LUNGevity - I was very honored to be given the opportunity to share my how Covid has changed my life, especially as a Lung Cancer patient.  I'm sure most of you can relate.    COVID and Me By Lisa Haines When I was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in 2015, I was extremely sick and my prognosis was pretty grim. I decided then, with the time I had left, I was going to live each and every day to the fullest. I wanted to do all the things that my husband an

Lisa Haines

Lisa Haines in Covid, Lung Cancer

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