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Hitting The Nail on the Head

What are all these "Toe Nail Clipper" emails I receive nearly every day? And how do these senders know that I'm actually the perfect recipient. Toe nail clippers and cuticle trimmers have been the bane of my existence going back as far as I can remember. And as recently as I care to mention, these two accessories have been front and center on my bedside table, in a drawer in my living room coffee table, in my car's console/glove box and in any suitcase/overnight bag I take with me out of town. T

LUNG CANCER, COVID AND GRIEF – IT’S COMPLICATED

Being part of the lung cancer community for almost 5 years now, I am often in awe of the fiercely close, supportive and loving connections that are made between its members. We learn together, advocate together, and celebrate life together. And, when someone in our community dies – which unfortunately happens often – we mourn together. For many, it is a deep grief we feel – for the person we lose, their loved ones, and ourselves. Yet during the COVID-19 pandemic, many survivors have had add

A Shot in the Arm

Literally and figuratively. After a year or so living the pandemic life - staying at home/quarantining, wearing a mask, social distancing, washing my hands and watching the death toll from covid-19 top 500,000 in the United States alone - I recently became of the lucky ones to have been injected with a vaccine. I have to wait another two weeks to get my second shot. No worries. I have some protection now, but according to Dr. Fauci, the second/follow-up shot increases one's protection "tenfold."

Cancerversary

I realize I'm cancer-centric, especially in these columns, but for some reason that centricity didn't acknowledge my February 27th cancer anniversary. That date, in 2009, is when I was originally diagnosed with stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer, the "terminal" kind. I remember it well. It was a Thursday. It was the initial Team Lourie meeting with my soon-to-be new best friend: my oncologist. A week or so prior, I had received the first indication - from my primary care physician, that my lif

Back to Abnormal

Well, those last two weeks were kind of fun (comparatively speaking) to the dozen or so previous weeks. 'Fun', when you're a cancer patient experiencing side effects from treatment, is a moderation, absence even of said effects. My recent two-week break from taking my thyroid cancer medication was due to those side effects. Mentioned in a previous column, I was having balance and dizziness issues. In short, I couldn't walk or drive - for that matter, in a straight line. After consulting with my

Lung Cancer and Worry

After a Lung Cancer diagnosis, it is normal and expected for even habitually calm people to worry about their futures. But what happens when those worries begin to “take over”, interfering with your ability to enjoy your life? Most of us are familiar with the quote by Barbara Cameron, “Worry about tomorrow steals the joy from today”. However, as cancer patients, our relationships with worry are usually more complicated than that.     Worry, like any uncomfortable feeling, is often a signal t

Not That I Don't Understand But...

...So this is what the process is like trying to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination. If you're lucky though, you receive an email reminder - since you've pre-registered, advising you that the time to strike is now. You click on the link, and as I'm witnessing, you wait your turn. The site says there's "High Traffic," and they'll be with you momentarily. There's no calling. There's barely any responding. There's simply sitting and staring - and waiting. There's no indication of how long you'll be wa

FDA APPROVES LIBTAYO® (CEMIPLIMAB-RWLC) MONOTHERAPY FOR PATIENTS WITH FIRST-LINE ADVANCED NON-SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER WITH PD-L1 EXPRESSION OF ≥50%

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. and PARIS, Feb. 22, 2021  Libtayo was superior in extending overall survival compared to chemotherapy in a pivotal trial that allowed for certain disease characteristics frequently underrepresented in advanced NSCLC trials This is the third approval for Libtayo in the U.S. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) and Sanofi today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the PD-1 inhibitor Libtayo® (cemiplimab-rwlc) for the first

5 Years!

Today marks 5 years since my diagnosis. It seems like just yesterday but also a lifetime ago - at the same time. It brought me to the club I never wanted to join but introduced me to so many wonderful people. I am thankful for my medical team and all of the research and advancements that got me to this point.  Looking forward to marking next year's cancerversary with all of you.

If Michael Corleone Had Lung Cancer

"Just when I thought I was out ... they pull me back in." And just when I thought I had a month off from cancer-related appointments, infusions, scans and lab work, et cetera, I experienced a new symptom the other day which warranted an unexpected brain MRI. Though I delayed a few days in sharing my new symptom, on Thursday I emailed my oncologist. Within the day (not nearly soon enough for my wife, Dina), I received a call from my doctor. After a brief conversation during which I described my s

"Clinical Correlation Suggested"

Means what exactly? That was the suggestion written by the pathologist after "non-small cell lung cancer" was written in the "diagnosis" section of the pathology report completed after my original surgical biopsy was performed at Holy Cross Hospital in early 2009. I had never seen this document until this past week, finally retrieving it after nearly 12 years, represents a kind of symmetry. Though 2009 is when my life as an officially-diagnosed-lung-cancer patient began, I am not at all prepared

Trekking The Green With Seventeen

Today I celebrate 17 years surviving lung cancer. COVID is a nightmare. But, I am celebrating nevertheless. Life after lung cancer is precious and most worthy of celebration. You might note I’ve run out of toes to paint. I do this to honor Phillip Berman, MD, a radiologist with Stage IV lung cancer, who was instrumental in my survival. Phil resolved to paint a toenail red for each year he survived “this madness.” He painted 5 before passing; I continue the tradition using LUNGevity Blue. My

Progress, I Guess?

I received in the mail today what, in the sales/marketing world, we'd call a "pre-approach" letter. It was a letter confirming that my healthcare provider is aware of me and my COVID needs. Moreover, it offered up the tantalizing notion that one day (although they didn't specify) when it is my turn, I will indeed get contacted/scheduled for my inoculation. Unfortunately, they couldn't be any more specific because their allotment of vaccines barely scratches the surface of the actual need. Nevert

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

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

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

LCSC Blog

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

LCSC Blog

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

LCSC Blog

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

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Patagonia in Veteran

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